Economic Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation
Economic Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Selected Coastal Areas in the Philippines
Asa Jose Sajise
1 Mar 2012
28 Feb 2013
The Philippines is particularly vulnerable to climate change, as its extensive coastline is a key environmental and economic resource. Conserving ecosystems and protecting livelihoods depends to a large extent on stakeholders’ ability to predict the impact of climate change and on communities’ capacity to adapt. This study is an effort to better understand the risks associated with climate change, and assess adaptation and policy options to address these risks more effectively.
Identifying risks and recommending adaptation strategies
Coastal communities in the Philippines remain largely dependent on fisheries and other aquatic resources, which provide about half the dietary protein needs of the population. However, the quality and quantity of harvestable resources have declined dramatically as a result of overfishing and habitat degradation. These stresses are now being exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Greater variability in patterns of rainfall and runoff; increases in the frequency, intensity and duration of storms, and rising sea levels are now recognized as inevitable consequences of climate change. With 60% of the population living in coastal areas, the potential negative impacts on lives and livelihoods is enormous.
In the last decade, various initiatives to identify and implement strategies that will better equip coastal Filipino communities to cope with climate change have been pursued. Despite these efforts, the capacity to adapt is limited at best. The country has insufficient expertise and facilities to provide reliable predictions of climate change and its impact on different sectors. Planning and communication processes are also limited, lacking the effective participation of stakeholders, especially local people. Vulnerable groups in general do not have access to resources for adaptation, making them less resilient to climate change.
In light of these constraints, this study is a positive step towards identifying the impacts of climate change and assessing the vulnerabilities of communities in selected coastal areas. It is essential that such initiatives consider not only biophysical factors but also socioeconomic dimensions, which to a large extent dictate the range of conservation and adaptation measures that can be effectively applied. This study brings together scientists, government planners, and economists to recommend adaptation actions for coastal areas, taking into consideration the social dimensions of equity and rights. The study covers the three coastal regions of Babuyan Channel, Sogod Bay and Lanuza Bay, comparing common experiences and results across a range of options and hazards. The study aims to validate and assess climate change impacts in these areas; measure the economic costs and benefits of specific effects of climate change; assess adaptation strategies; recommend viable adaptation options, and explore and identify emerging issues in the assessment of vulnerability and economic analysis of adaptation.
The results of this study will provide valuable information to local government units so they can adequately identify potential hazards and initiate sustainable strategies. It will also assist national decision makers in integrating robust adaptation strategies into their development plans and budgets in a context of high uncertainty, competing needs and limited financial resources. However, the greatest beneficiaries of the study will be the local communities, for whom well formulated adaptation strategies are critical. These communities will also be empowered through a greater understanding of the effects of climate change and what they can do to improve their own resilience.