Climatic Change

, Volume 147, Issue 1–2, pp 77–90 | Cite as

Economic consequences of global climate change and mitigation on future hydropower generation

  • Qian ZhouEmail author
  • Naota Hanasaki
  • Shinichiro Fujimori
  • Yoshimitsu Masaki
  • Yasuaki Hijioka


Hydropower generation plays a key role in mitigating GHG emissions from the overall power supply. Although the maximum achievable hydropower generation (MAHG) will be affected by climate change, it is seldom incorporated in integrated assessment models. In this study, we first used the H08 global hydrological model to project MAHG under two physical climate change scenarios. Then, we used the Asia-Pacific Integrated Model/Computable General Equilibrium integrated assessment model to quantify the economic consequences of the presence or absence of mitigation policy on hydropower generation. This approach enabled us to quantify the physical impacts of climate change and the effect of mitigation policy—together and in isolation—on hydropower generation and the economy, both globally and regionally. Although there was little overall global change, we observed substantial differences among regions in the MAHG average change (from − 71% in Middle East to 14% in Former Soviet Union in RCP8.5). We found that the magnitude of changes in regional gross domestic product (GDP) was small negative (positive) in Brazil (Canada) by 2100, for the no mitigation policy scenario. These consequences were intensified with the implementation of mitigation policies that enhanced the price competitiveness of hydropower against fossil fuel-powered technologies. Overall, our results suggested that there would be no notable globally aggregated impacts on GDP by 2100 because the positive effects in some regions were canceled out by negative effects in other regions.



Asia-Pacific Integrated Model/Computable General Equilibrium


Computable general equilibrium


Economically exploitable capability


General circulation model


Gross domestic product


H08 global hydrological model


Maximum achievable hydropower generation


Mitigation policy


Physical impact of climate change


Representative concentration pathways


Shared socioeconomic pathways


Theoretical hydropower potential



We thank the two anonymous reviewers and Prof. Glyn Wittwer from Victoria University in Melbourne for their valuable comments, which helped us to improve this manuscript. We also thank the editors for their help with the paper. This work was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-14) of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

Supplementary material

10584_2017_2131_MOESM1_ESM.docx (610 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 609 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Energy ProgramInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)LaxenburgAustria

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