Why integrating top-down and bottom-up analysis of adaptation measures is useful

Adaptation to climate change is a typical bottom-up exercise. It is about finding the right measures at local or sectoral level to specific impacts of climate change. ToPDAd however combines this bottom-up modelling with a top-down, macro-economic analysis – using two different models, GINFORS and GRACE. The top-down analysis gives us quite a few new insights into adaptation.

Getting rich is a bad adaptation strategy

One of the climate change scenarios that is analysed by ToPDAd is a combination of the RCP 2.6 emissions pathway with the SSP1 shared socio-economic pathway, which predicts strong GDP growth. The analysis shows that if high economic growth is realised, emissions will go far beyond the RCP 2.6 emissions pathway. In this case, climate impacts will be more severe and will occur earlier, making adaptation to climate change more challenging

Regional and national concerns might be different

The top-down analysis of the tourism case in Deliverable 3.4 shows that climate impacts might be assessed differently by decisions makers, depending on whether they sit at regional level or at national level. Whereas artificial snowmaking to those that are in charge of a skiing station might seem like a good way of adapting to the lack of winter snow, national decision makers might be more concerned about the broader environmental impact of artificial snowmaking. Or, national decision makers might judge that the loss of overnight stays in a particular skiing region, is not a big threat to the national economy.

Don’t lose oversight

The health case study has shown that focusing on particular consequences, for instance the death toll of heat waves, might hide other and bigger impacts of climate change. Our study shows that the impact on climate change on labour productivity might be bigger than anticipated. Climate change could lead to a surge in sick leave and increase the need for health care services.


These three examples show that both bottom-up analysis from sectoral and/or regional level and top-down macro-economic analyses are necessary to come to the best adaptation strategies.

Read more about the integration of top-down and bottom-up analyses in the energy, transport and health sector in Deliverable 3.4.

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Logos of the participants of ToPDAd
Participants of ToPDAd: Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT, The Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge, CICERO Senter Klimaforskning Stiftelse, Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftlich Strukturforschung MBH, University of East Anglia, Transport & Mobility Lueven NV, Ilmatieteen Laitos, Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft MBH
7th Framework Programme (FP7)