Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Thaer-Institute | Resource Economics | News Items | Transnational climate adaptation - Article: Strategic cooperation ...

Transnational climate adaptation - Article: Strategic cooperation ...

Transnational climate adaptation – adaptation to climate impacts with spillovers across national borders – has a problem structure similar to the one of climate mitigation. Climate mitigation approaches may thus be applied to climate adaptation. Through a Baltic Sea case study, the paper shows that climate mitigation can deliver potential solutions for transnational adaptation.


Published - 17/07/2019

Roggero, M., L. Kähler and A. Hagen (2019) Strategic cooperation for transnational adaptation: lessons from the economics of climate change mitigation. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics,


Abstract: The literature on climate adaptation has so far conceptualized it as a domestic issue, to be governed somewhere between the local and the national scale. By contrast, scholars have shown little interest in exploring the case of cross-boundary adaptation spillovers, where adaptation by one country affects other countries. Two decades of the economic literature on climate mitigation may contribute to bridge this research gap because the problem structure of climate mitigation resembles that of adaptation with cross-boundary spillovers. With this in mind, we ask the following research question: Are there lessons to be learned by applying a mitigation perspective to the governance of adaptation with cross-boundary spillovers? After reviewing the relevant adaptation and mitigation literature, the paper applies mitigation insights to an adaptation case with cross-boundary spillovers: climate change-induced eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Insights on coalition structures, side-payments, issue-linkage, and trade sanctions provide novel perspectives on the governance structures in place. To improve cooperation on providing adaptation as a public good, smaller regional governance arrangements could be more effective, European subsidies for pollution control might be redirected, and progress on eutrophication could be made a precondition for cooperation on other areas.

These perspectives depart both from the way the Baltic Sea eutrophication problem is addressed at present, and from the way public goods are addressed in the adaptation literature. They show that some lessons can indeed be learned, calling for further research.