EU and UK face €872 billion battle against rising seas


Sea level rise could cost the EU and UK up to €872 billion by 2100, highlighting the need for region-specific economic strategies.

Damage from rising sea levels could cost the EU and UK economies up to €872 billion in total by the end of the century, according to a modeling study published today today (January 18) in Scientific Reports.

Ignasi Cortés Arbués, Theodoros Chatzivasileiadis, Tatiana Filatova and colleagues modeled the potential economic impacts of sea level rise for 271 European regions by 2100 under a high emissions scenario (SSP5-RCP8 .5) with no new coastal protection measures implemented after 2015. They combined a previously developed economic model with data on projected impacts of sea level rise, investment trends and distribution of losses economic losses caused by 155 floods across Europe between 1995 and 2016.

They estimated potential economic losses and gains relative to a scenario with no sea level rise and 2% annual economic growth in all regions. They also modeled the impact of targeted investments in different economic sectors on regional economies following sea level rise.

Economic impact of sea level rise

The authors estimate that under a high emissions scenario, sea level rise could cause €872 billion in combined economic losses in the UK and EU by 2100, compared to a scenario without sea level rise. They observed regional differences in the economic impacts of sea level rise, with the majority of economic losses — up to 21% of regional gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100 — being concentrated in coastal regions such as Veneto and Emilia-Romagna in Italy and Zachodniopomorskie in Italy. Poland.

Other regions that suffered relatively greater economic losses were concentrated around the Baltic Sea, the Belgian coast, western France and Greece. However, they found that inland regions, such as in Germany, Austria and Hungary, saw economic gains of up to 1% of regional GDP by 2100. The authors suggest this could be due to offshoring of production from flooded coastal regions to inland regions.

Targeted investment benefits

Although targeted investments in the logistics, utilities, construction and utilities sectors have had negligible impacts on the UK and EU economy as a whole in an emissions scenario high, they nevertheless reduced some regional losses with negligible cost to the wider UK and EU economy. . Regions which have particularly benefited from targeted investments are Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and Kent in the United Kingdom, Bremen and Weser-Ems in Germany and West Flanders in Belgium.

Conclusion and policy implications

Together, the results highlight the need for region-specific economic policies to address the uneven impacts of sea level on different regions and their economies.

This article is originally published on


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