The economic damages caused by the rise in sea levels in the European Union and the United Kingdom could reach a total cost of approximately 872 billion euros by 2100. This calculation comes from a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, conducted by scientists from the Delft University of Technology. The team, led by Ignasi Cortés Arbués, Theodoros Chatzivasileiadis, and Tatiana Filatova, modeled the potential economic impacts resulting from the rise in sea levels for 271 European regions by 2100.

For the analysis, researchers hypothesized various scenarios. The first scenario considered high emission levels and no adoption of coastal protection measures. The authors also combined the economic model with predictions of the impacts of sea-level rise, taking into account investment trends and the distribution of economic losses caused by 155 flooding events across Europe between 1995 and 2016.

Subsequently, the researchers simulated a scenario where sea levels remained stable, and economic growth increased by 2% in all considered areas. The research group then assessed the effect of targeted investments in various economic sectors. According to the investigation, in the case of high emissions, the rise in sea levels could cause an economic damage of approximately 872 billion euros by 2100.

The most substantial losses, potentially reaching up to 21% of GDP, would occur in coastal regions such as Veneto and Emilia-Romagna in Italy and Zachodniopomorskie in Poland. Regions around the Baltic Sea, the Belgian coast, western France, and Greece would also experience significant consequences, according to the experts. Conversely, the researchers add, inland areas such as Germany, Austria, and Hungary could experience an increase of up to 1%.

This reverse trend, the researchers hypothesize, could result from the transfer of productive sectors from flooded coasts to inland areas. In the case of targeted investments, the model predicts a negligible impact on the economy of the UK and the European Union, associated with an actual reduction in the risk of significant economic losses. The most significant benefit from funding these sectors would occur, in particular, in Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire, and Kent for the UK, in Bremen and Weser-Ems in Germany, and in West Flanders in Belgium.

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