AVOID 1: Costs of adaptation to the effects of climate change in the world’s large port cities

A globally applicable methodology for estimating flood losses was developed which will allow improved broad assessments of potential losses from climate change to take place. A database describing unit costs of coastal adaptation measures was also compiled. This updates previous global vulnerability assessments and in the future will also allow more accurate estimations of the costs of adapting to climate change to be made. Finally, a database describing applied standards of protection in large port cities was also established. This database highlights significant variation in protection levels worldwide. The level of protection applied is clearly influenced by numerous factors. This makes predicting probable levels of protection problematic.

This study has moved beyond the exposure analysis undertaken by Nicholls et al. (2008) and shows that even when coastal defences are considered, significant assets and population can still be at risk of coastal flooding.

The study highlighted that low standards of coastal protection are applied in a number of the cities studied. Of particular concern are New Orleans, New York, Miami, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City and Guangzhou where high exposed populations also exist.

The study highlighted a lack of information for evaluating the costs of adapting to climate change. This lack of data desperately needs to be addressed.

Further information on key outcomes can be found in the executive summary.