Motive Project

World Bank: New global estimate for cost of adaptation to climate change in developing countries

by: Minna Korhonen

The costs of adaptation to climate change in developing countries will be in the order of US$75-100 billion per year for the period 2010 to 2050 according to preliminary findings in a new global study from The World Bank.

The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change (EACC) study, funded by the governments of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, is the most in-depth analysis of the economics of adaptation to climate change to date and uses a new methodology for assessing these costs.

The new approach involves comparing a future world without climate change with a future world with climate change. The difference between these two worlds entails a series of actions to adapt to the new world conditions. The costs of these additional actions are the costs of adapting to climate change.
In the draft consultation document released today, a key part of the overall analysis involved estimating adaptation costs for major economic sectors under two alternative future climate scenarios: “wet” and a “dry”. Under the relatively dryer scenario the adaptation cost is estimated at US$75 billion per year, while under the scenario that assumes a future wetter climate it is US$100 billion.

In the study, adaptation costs for all developing countries are estimated for the major economic sectors using country-level data sets that have global coverage, including partial assessment of costs of adaptation for ecosystem services. Cost implications of changes in the frequency of extreme weather events are also considered. The study is the first to develop a workable definition of adaptation costs that can set the stage for common understanding of what adaptation entails, what role development plays in adaptation, and what policy changes are needed to facilitate adaptation. It also highlights that many questions remain, and that further work is essential.

For more information and to download a copy of the report:

For information about the World Bank’s work on climate change:


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