Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 691–710 | Cite as

Optimal growth with adaptation to climate change

  • Patrice DumasEmail author
  • Minh Ha-Duong


We find that approximately a quarter of the world’s productive capital could be sensitive to climate; therefore, this capital faces the risk of accelerated obsolescence in a world warming by an average of 0.2 °C per decade. We examine the question of optimal adaptation to climate change in a vintage capital growth model without uncertainty. Along the optimal pathway, adaptation is proactive with an anticipation period of approximately twenty years. While there is additional investment in this scenario compared with a no-climate-change baseline, the overall cost to adapt is low relative to the potential losses from maladaptation. Over-investment in protection capital allows the economy to be consistently well-adapted to climate; thus, such a policy prevents transient maladaptation costs. Sensitivity analysis with an integrated assessment model suggests that costs could be ten times larger if adaptation only begins after vulnerable sectors are impacted.


Capital Stock Climate Change Adaptation Protection Investment Productive Capital Integrate Assessment Model 
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.



We acknowledge financial support from the Ile de France region under the R2DS research programme and from the ANR research project AMTools. We would like to thank S. Hallegatte, C. Böhringer, EAERE participants and two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Météorologie DynamiqueEcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD)Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement (CIRED)Nogent-sur-Marne CedexFrance
  3. 3.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement (CIRED)Nogent-sur-Marne CedexFrance

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