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Assessing adaptation options

Assess cross-cutting issues, trade-offs and synergies of adaptation options

The assessment of possible options and their comparison should include:

  • identifying the risks the option addresses (i.e. each option may have an effect on or treat multiple risks) and by how much the option will likely reduce the risks;
  • considering the time frame to implement the option and when it shall become effective, reflecting identified risks and the range of urgency to act;
  • addressing direct and indirect effects of the option in economic, environmental and social terms (including effects on climate change mitigation) with an emphasis on potential benefits;
  • assessing costs and benefits to predict whether the benefits (e.g. avoided damage) of an option outweigh its costs, and by how much in relation to other alternatives (i.e. one can rank alternate options in terms of the cost-benefit ratio). All costs and benefits should be quantified where this is possible and meaningful, otherwise a qualitative assessment shall be delivered;
  • considering the barriers to implementation of adaptation actions including budget required, the need of a policy change or introduction of legislation, the expected level of acceptance to stakeholders as well as the extent of research and development needed.

In order to assess feasible adaptation options the analysis of costs and benefits is crucial. Estimates of costs and benefits are emerging, but vary substantially with the objectives of the study, and the aggregation level and sector. You can query the Climate-ADAPT database for available information on the economics of adaptation originating from various sources as research projects and studies, information portals etc.