It’s going to cost two to three times more than the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has estimated to adapt to projected impacts.

That’s the headline from a new study released jointly by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, at Imperial College London,* and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Led by Professor Martin Perry, a former co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the study cautions that international negotiators meeting in Copenhagen this December are basing their decisions in part on “substantial underestimates of what it will cost to adapt” to climate change impacts.

IPCC in 2007 projected annual costs of between nearly $50 billion and $171 billion in U.S. dollars starting in 2030. The authors of the new report say those estimates do not account for all important impacts on energy, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and ecosystems.

Parry was quoted as telling a London press conference on August 27 that “the amount of money on the table at Copenhagen is one of the key factors that will determine whether we achieve a climate change agreement …. But previous estimates of adaptation costs have substantially misjudged the scale of funds needed.”

The authors of the report urged more intense analysis of adaptation costs, including, for instance, “residual costs” occurring when adaptation strategies are infeasible or unduly expensive.

*The Grantham Institute for Climate Change and The Yale Forum are both supported by grants from The Grantham Foundation for Protection of the Environment.

Topics: Policy & Politics