Climatic Change

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 63–81 | Cite as

Economic impacts of climate change in Europe: sea-level rise

  • Francesco BoselloEmail author
  • Robert J. Nicholls
  • Julie Richards
  • Roberto Roson
  • Richard S. J. Tol


This paper uses two models to examine the direct and indirect costs of sea-level rise for Europe for a range of sea-level rise scenarios for the 2020s and 2080s: (1) the DIVA model to estimate the physical impacts of sea-level rise and the direct economic cost, including adaptation, and (2) the GTAP-EF model to assess the indirect economic implications. Without adaptation, impacts are quite significant with a large land loss and increase in the incidence of coastal flooding. By the end of the century Malta has the largest relative land loss at 12% of its total surface area, followed by Greece at 3.5% land loss. Economic losses are however larger in Poland and Germany ($483 and $391 million, respectively). Coastal protection is very effective in reducing these impacts and optimally undertaken leads to protection levels that are higher than 85% in the majority of European states. While the direct economic impact of sea-level rise is always negative, the final impact on countries’ economic performances estimated with the GTAP-EF model may be positive or negative. This is because factor substitution, international trade, and changes in investment patterns interact with possible positive implications. The policy insights are (1) while sea-level rise has negative and huge direct economic effects, overall effects on GDP are quite small (max −0.046% in Poland); (2) the impact of sea-level rise is not confined to the coastal zone and sea-level rise indirectly affects landlocked countries as well (Austria for instance loses −0.003% of its GDP); and (3) adaptation is crucial to keep the negative impacts of sea-level rise at an acceptable level.


European Union European Union Country Computable General Equilibrium Damage Cost Coastal Protection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work has been conducted as part of the PESETA (Projection of Economic impacts of climate change in Sectors of the European Union based on boTtom-up Analysis) EC-funded project whose objective is the multi-sectoral assessment of the impacts of climate change in Europe for the medium, long-term. The DIVA model was developed within the DINAS-COAST project, which was funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Research under contract number EVK2-2000-22024.

We thank Dr. Fabio Eboli and Mr. Ramiro Parrado for their helpful support in the development of the CGE modelling exercise. We also thank Juan Carlos Ciscar for helpful comments. All errors are ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Bosello
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert J. Nicholls
    • 2
  • Julie Richards
    • 2
  • Roberto Roson
    • 3
  • Richard S. J. Tol
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.University of Milan and Fondazione Eni Enrico MatteiVeniceItaly
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.Ca’ Foscari UniversityVeniceItaly
  4. 4.Economic and Social Research InstituteDublinIreland
  5. 5.Vrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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