CICERO - Senter for klimaforskning

Assessment of risks for adaptation to climate change: the case of land-slides

Asbjørn Aaheim, Bård Romstad, Håkon Sælen

This paper describes how relatively detailed knowledge about probabilities of natural hazards can be used to make decisions to develop areas and control the risk within hazard zones. The assessment serves two purposes. First, it shows how information can support decisions. Second, decision criteria put leads on what information is required. This is helpful to identify unavailable information. We show by an example from a land-slide prone area in Norway how a relatively reliable estimate of the probability of slides ends up in a rather uncertain estimate of the risk. Uncertainty about the risk represented by natural hazards imply great challenges to the development of adaptation policies to meet climate change, but they are required. We develop a simplified criterion for optimal adaptation, and estimate the added social value required to defend development in hazard prone areas instead of developing a risk-free alternative. The value is estimated between 0 and 0.40 Euros per Euro invested in the case area, depending on type of slide, category of asset and other costs that occur in the wake of slides.

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