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The double trade off between adaptation and mitigation for sea level rise: an application of FUND

The effects of adaptation and mitigation on the impacts of sea-level rise are studied. Without either, the impacts of sea-level rise would be substantial, almost wiping out entire nations before 2100; the global effect is much smaller. Adaptation would reduce impacts by a factor of 10 to 100. As adaptation depends on socio-economic status, the rank order of most-vulnerable countries is not the same as the rank order of most-exposed countries. Adaptation would come at a minor cost compared to the damage avoided. Because the momentum of sea level rise is so large, mitigation can reduce impacts only to a limited extent. Stabilising carbon dioxide concentrations at 550 ppm would cut impacts up to 2100 by about 10%. However, if the costs of emission reduction are also factored in, then avoided impacts are less by up to 25% (average 10%). This is partly due to the reduced availability of resources for adaptation, and partly due to the increased sensitivity to wetland loss by adaptation.

Tol, R.S.J., 2005: The double trade off between Adaptation and Mitigation for sea level rise: An Application of FUND. Research Unit for Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg, Germany.

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