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Climate change implications for Europe

An application of the ESCAPE Model

Global Environmental Change 1994 4 (2) 97

Jan Rotmans, Mike Hulme and Thomas E Downing


Policy makers, charged both with identifying possible national response strategies to climate change and with negotiating international conventions and protocols, need tools which enable them to estimate the implications for climate change of a wide range of policy options and which summarize the uncertainties surrounding global climate change. One such tool, recently constructed for the Environment Directorate of the Commission of the European Communities,1 consists of an interactive climate change impact assessment model called ESCAPE. This paper describes the model framework and illustrates the use of ESCAPE using a range of input scenarios reflecting different global policy, economic and technological futures. Three important characteristics of the global climate change problem are well illustrated: past emissions of greenhouse gases and the inertia of the global development path have committed the world to future warming irrespective of current and near-future policy interventions; the efficacy of a climate policy implemented solely within the EC on altering the course of future climate change is very small; and the impacts of climate change on the economy and environment of the European Community differ markedly between northern and southern Europe.

1 The European Community (EC) officially became the European Union with the adoption of the Maastricht Treaty. For consistency, the former name is used here, since the project was completed under the auspices of the EC.



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