The SOCLIMPACT Project

The warming of the climate system is unequivocal and continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes. Islands are particularly vulnerable to Climate Change (CC) consequences, but the coarse spatial resolution of available projections makes it difficult to derive valid statements for islands. Moreover, science-based information about the economic impacts of CC in marine and maritime sectors is scarce, and current economic models lack of solid non-market assesment. Policy makers must have accurate information about likely impact chains and about the costs and benefits of possible strategies to implement efficient measures. SOCLIMPACT aims at modelling downscaled CC effects and their socioeconomic impacts in European islands for 2030–2100, in the context of the EU Blue Economy sectors, and assess corresponding decarbonisation and adaptation pathways, complementing current available projections for Europe, and nourishing actual economic models with non-market assessment, by:

  • Developing a thorough understanding on how CC will impact the EU islands located in different regions of the world.
  • Contributing to the improvement of the economic valuation of climate impacts by adopting revealed and stated preference methods.
  • Increasing the effectiveness of the economic modelling of climate impact chains, through the implementation of an integrated methodological framework (GINFORS, GEM-E3 and non-market indicators).
  • Facilitating climate-related policy decision making for Blue Growth, by ranking and mapping the more appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • Delivering accurate information to policy makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders.

SOCLIMPACT addresses completely this Work Programme providing advances in the economic valuation of climate induced impacts, and in climate and economic models, allowing downscaled projections of complex impact chains, and facilitating the resilience capacity of these vulnerable lands.

According to the fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the warming of the climate system is unequivocal and continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe and irreversible environmental impacts, which can induce large socio-economic damage. New policies are needed; in the field of mitigation of GHG emissions, policies will be increasingly framed by the implementation of the Paris agreement, which renewed the interest for very low emission scenarios. In the field of Climate Change (CC) adaptation, policy makers must have detailed and accurate information about likely impact chains and about the costs and benefits of possible resilience strategies corresponding to the potential decarbonisation pathways, in order to implement and promote efficient measures and investments.

The Communication “An EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change” stresses that the EU islands – including outermost regions – are particularly vulnerable to Climate Change consequences. However, the broad resolution of available climate models does not allow to stem valid statements for most of these islands. One tenth of the world-population lives in islands, and there are no specific findings about the resilience and risk management strategies of these vulnerable lands, although the climate of islands responds to specific dynamics such as oceanic circulation. Moreover, while Europe’s social and economic development is closely linked to its seas and oceans, science-based information and knowledge about the economic impacts of Climate Change in specific coastal and maritime sectors are scarce, and current economic models do not take into account nonmarket features, only providing a partial vision.

Therefore, the SOCLIMPACT project aims at modelling downscaled Climate Change effects and their economic impacts in European islands and archipelagos for 2030 – 2100 in the context of the EU Blue Economy, and assess corresponding decarbonisation and adaptation pathways, thus complementing current available projections for Europe, and nourishing actual economic models with non-market assessment.

More specifically, this main objective unfolds into 5 sub-objectives:

Objective 1. Develop a thorough understanding on how Climate Change will impact the EU islands located in different regions of the world, considering their specific vulnerability, thus improving the existing climate impact models for Europe by:

o Proposing coupled ocean-atmosphere RCM climate runs forced by CMIP5GCM (Cordex), consistent with low carbon emission pathways (RCP2.6 – effectively mitigated scenario), late-action scenario (RCP4.6) and non-action scenario (RCP8.5), therefore improving the understanding of island climate and its relationship with oceanic circulation.

o Proposing high resolution Climate Change impact runs, ranging from sea-level rise to changes in ocean temperature and salinity, allowing an assessment of the impact of Climate Change on the Blue Economy.

Objective 2. Contribute to the improvement of the economic valuation of climate impacts and related policies for the EU´s Blue Economy sectors, by adopting revealed and stated preference methods (Discrete Choice Experiments – DCE), to measure and analyse, on one hand, the non-market costs of different Climate Change scenarios, and on the other hand, the non-market benefits of climate actions (mitigation and adaptation).

Objective 3. Increase the effectiveness of the economic modelling of climate impact chains, through the implementation of an integrated methodological framework (GINFORS, GEM-E3 and nonmarket indicators), in the analysis of climate-induced socioeconomic impacts in 11 EU islands case studies, under different climate scenarios for 2030-2100, with a cross-sectorial perspective (EU Blue Economy sectors), providing a step further to the results of the PESETA project.

Objective 4. Facilitate climate-related policy decision making for Blue Growth, by ranking and mapping the more appropriate and viable mitigation, adaptation and risk management strategies, and building a common framework for the governance of Blue Economy sectors with a permanent regional information exchange system (REIS) for Europe and EU islands.

Objective 5. Deliver, through innovative decision-making support tools, downscaled and accurate information to policy makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders, about the environmental and socio-economic consequences of global Climate Change in the EU Blue Economy, and formulate science-based recommendations to incentivise the EU islands´ medium to long-term low-carbon transition, thus strengthening science-policy interface, increase social awareness, and contribute to the competitiveness of the European coastal and maritime industry.

By developing a work programme corresponding to the above objectives, SOCLIMPACT aims at allowing decision makers from all Small Island Member States and other EU islands and Outermost Regions, to get a sound knowledge about the possible climate induced impact chains, and a comprehensive evidence-based framework for research and policy. By using EU islands as living labs with a high replicability potential, SOCLIMPACT will provide stronger methodologies to better measure and asses the associated costs, benefits and risks of global Climate Change in other EU coastal regions.

H2020 project

The proposal relates to the topic “Pathways towards the decarbonisation and resilience of the European economy in the timeframe 2030-2050 and beyond” under the call “Greening the economy” and focuses more specifically on the scope “The risks and costs of Climate Change for Europe”, which aims at “further developing modelling tools and formulating more detailed and downscaled projections associated with the possible consequences of Climate Change, contributing to the evolution of methodologies in physical science, risk assessment and economics, applying to the analysis of possible impact chains, as well as to the economic valuation of climate in the EU”. By modelling new downscaled climate projections and their impacts with different geographical coverage than exiting, and by integrating different economic models with non-market assessment for modelling complex impact chains in the context of the EU Blue Economy, the project aims at providing new insights to climate researchers, economists and policy makers about the impacts of the Climate Change for the timeframe 2030-2100, including EU islands and outermost regions, this way addressing completely the challenge and scope of that topic. Indeed, the project will also rank and map tailored resilience and decarbonisation strategies, in the context of contrasted mitigation scenarios for each island, which will be rapidly transferred to the relevant policy makers via workshops and other communication actions that will take place in each island.

In particular, the SC5-06- 2016-2017 call had three sub calls. In 2016, topic a) addressed technology transitions, while topic b) dealt with “Assessment of the global mitigation efforts in the perspective of the long-term climate goal (2016)”, insisting in on the analysis of the consequences of COP21 and the Paris Agreement.