Global resource consumption effects of borderless climate change: EU’s indirect vulnerability

Publikation aus Life
Wetter- und Klimarisikomanagement

Veronika Kulmer, Martin Jury, Sara Wong, Dominik Kortschak

Environmental and Sustainability Indicators Volume 8, 12/2020


We investigate how global climate change impacts affect the consumption of resources, namely water, labor, malaria risk and crops, across world regions. We quantify both impact channels, direct comprising domestic effects and indirect, subsuming cross-border effects. Methodologically we combine MRIO methodology, illustrating virtual flows of resources, with global climate change impact projections, showing climate induced changes of global resource availability. Our results underscore the importance of analyzing both, the direct and indirect climate change impact channels. Europe is predominantly indirectly affected, via imports from abroad, while for Asia-Pacific and for North America -in case of most resources-direct impacts are much stronger. The significance of borderless climate change impacts also depends on the resource investigated. Results show that, in the median scenario, crop consumption of all regions is mainly affected by domestic impacts, while in case of labor and water consumption the indirect impact channel is decisive. Worldwide and on a country level, this high influence of the indirect impact channel is emphasized: depending on the investigated resource, in a third up to a half of all countries the indirect impacts exceed the domestic ones. This dominance is particularly pronounced for the EU28 member states, where in most cases the imported impacts are five to ten times higher than the domestic ones.

Keywords: Global resource consumption; Borderless climate change impacts; Multi-regional input output; Climate change uncertainty