, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 497-514
Date: 11 Jan 2013

Confronting the challenge of integrated assessment of climate adaptation: a conceptual framework

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Abstract

Key limitations of integrated assessment models (IAMs) are their highly stylized and aggregated representation of climate damages and associated economic responses, as well as the omission of specific investments related to climate change adaptation. This paper proposes a framework for modeling climate impacts and adaptation that clarifies the relevant research issues and provides a template for making improvements. We identify five desirable characteristics of an ideal integrated assessment modeling platform, which we elaborate into a conceptual model that distinguishes three different classes of adaptation-related activities. Based on these elements we specify an impacts- and adaptation-centric IAM, whose optimality conditions are used to highlight the types of functional relationships necessary for realistic representations of adaptation-related decisions, the specific mechanisms by which these responses can be incorporated into IAMs, and the ways in which the inclusion of adaptation is likely to affect the simulations’ results.

This article is part of a Special Issue on “Improving the Assessment and Valuation of Climate Change Impacts for Policy and Regulatory Analysis” edited by Alex L. Marten, Kate C. Shouse, and Robert E. Kopp.