Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Economic Growth in Developing Asia

23 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017

See all articles by Ruben Carlo Asuncion

Ruben Carlo Asuncion

Union Bank of the Philippines

Minsoo Lee

Asian Development Bank

Date Written: January 2017


Global sea level rise (SLR) variations have undeniably begun to make an impact on highly vulnerable economies. These impacts of SLR are a key component of the projected economic damage of climate change, an important input to climate change policies and adaptive measures. This paper considers SLR projections and its impact on the economy and includes a consolidation of various related studies. Estimated global gross domestic product (GDP) loss by 2100 ranges from 0.3% to as high as of 9.3% (Hinkel et al. 2014; Pycroft, Abrell, and Ciscar 2015). Climate change impact should be addressed at the global level through a locally focused effort where education and acceptance by all stakeholders are crucial and warranted. Further, this paper tackles several adaptive strategies as a response to SLR which include retreat, accommodation, and protection. The retreat strategy simulates that SLR causes the loss of inundated land and incurs planned relocation (migration) costs above a certain sea level. The accommodation strategy allows usage of vulnerable areas or land and limits damage by flood-proofing or raising structures. Finally, the protection strategy projects that land will be protected from SLR damage by sea walls or other barriers of a certain height. On the other hand, Diaz (2016) estimates a median adaptation cost from migration at 16% of GDP under the least-cost strategy by 2050. In general, the education of and the acceptance by the concerned local community will be crucial in the successful implementation of SLR adaptation strategies, notwithstanding parallel mitigation efforts on a global scale.

Keywords: Climate Change, Economic Growth, Sea Level Rise

JEL Classification: Q50, Q54

Suggested Citation

Asuncion, Ruben Carlo and Lee, Minsoo, Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Economic Growth in Developing Asia (January 2017). Asian Development Bank Economics Working Paper Series No. 507. Available at SSRN: or

Ruben Carlo Asuncion

Union Bank of the Philippines ( email )

Meralco Ave, cor Onyx Road
corner, Onyx Rd, Ortigas Center
Pasig City, 1600

Minsoo Lee (Contact Author)

Asian Development Bank ( email )

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550
Metro Manila

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