Economic effects of adapting critical infrastructure

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The aim of this case study is to analyze the economic impacts of climate change and adaptation on particular critical infrastructures.

Case 2

Status report, October 2021


Case Content

The case study will look at the economic effects of adapting critical infrastructure. To do so, we take into account the future socio-economic scenarios for a meaningful risk assessment regarding the impacts on critical infrastructure from climate change. Socio-economic developments (as outlined in the respective SSP scenarios) can enhance or mitigate the risk from climate change, because socio-economic development will affect exposure and vulnerability negatively or positively.

We take the assumptions from the SSP and use a set of consistent scenarios on a national level for Germany. The scenarios differ in several details, e.g., population development, economic development, energy use, modes of transport. The model PANTA RHEI is used to calculate the economic effects of climate-related impacts on infrastructure in the context of different societal developments according to the SSPs and the economic effects of adaptation. Thus, we conduct an integrated assessment of the combined effect of potential climate and societal changes.

A scenario analysis is being performed to analyze the relationship and the interactions between them. The results of the modelling provide economic arguments for setting the ‘right’ societal framework and show the possible benefits of a societal transformation regarding the impacts of climate change and adaptation to infrastructure.

Research Innovations

Improved understanding of infrastructure effects from climate change Improved assessment of economic and environmental consequences.

This case study contributes to the research questions 1 and 3: develop and test an approach to assess climate change risks that covers both the short-term need for ‘adjusting’ within the current societal framework and the possible need for long-term and large-scale efforts of ‘societal transformation’; develop and test an applicable framework for analyzing how societal change can affect local climate change vulnerabilities, how to conduct an integrated assessment of the combined effect of potential climate and societal changes, and how to better understand the socio-economic consequences involved in local climate change adaptation.

Study areas

Environmental and economic effects of repeated periods of low water, storms, heavy rains and heat waves on infrastructure

Stakeholders involved

This demonstrative assessment exercise could also be carried out as stand-alone desk research. But we invite all other project partners and stakeholders addressed by them to cooperate.

For example, one obvious option in this respect is given by case study 2b, which is in contact with the Mannheim Port authority.

Summary data collection

Official statistics, databases from insurances, data from the respective authorities and past damage data will be sources. Other data sources are news, commentaries, blogs, internet sources.

Expected results

Methodological improvements: Linking the impact chain method to macroeconomic modelling; Providing quantitative values for the qualitative strands of the impact chains; Reducing risks by calculating possible and plausible corridors of results regarding the impacts of climate change and adaptation

Case study responsible

Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung (GWS)



Contribution to research questions 1 and 3