Global scale impacts of climate change: a multi-sectoral analysis

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Environmental Sciences


Climate policy should be informed by robust and credible information on the impacts of climate change across the global domain; a global perspective also places local and regional impacts in context, and helps identify potential 'hotspots' for further scientific investigation. The project assesses the global-scale impact of climate change using a range of linked impact modules and impact indicators, representing impacts on water resources, flood risk, food production, biodiversity and human health and well-being on land, at the coast, and at sea. The project will synthesise and aggregate across sectors and regions, using a variety of approaches, and allow the identification of the risks of specific impacts occurring at different rates of climate change. The methodology and results of the project also provide a framework for the assessment of the impacts of defined climate policies. First, it allows detailed geographically-explicit assessments of specific climate scenarios or climate policies, using the suite of linked models. Second, it allows the more rapid assessment of a very large number of climate outcomes (based for example on a probabilistic assessment of the climate effects of an emissions policy) using regionalised functions relating climate impact to indices of climate forcing. The project will be undertaken by a consortium of twelve lead partners, all with international reputations in the field of climate impact assessment.


10 25 50
Description Anthropogenically-induced climate change has the potential to impact upon many sectors of

society, economy and the environment, but with the impacts varying strongly from region to region. This project undertook a multi-sectoral climate change risk assessment, using a coherent set of climate and socio-economic scenarios across the global domain. The study identifies the potential magnitude of the consequences of climate change across several indicators in 2050, together with geographical variability between major world regions, taking into account uncertainty. The results show that in most regions the risks posed by climate change can be substantial, and this is particularly true in instances of populations exposed to flooding and water scarcity, areas affected by drought, changes in suitability for cropping, crop production and cooling energy demand; many regions are affected by multiple impacts. The relative importance of emissions scenario, socioeconomic and climate model uncertainty for the range in impacts varies between sectors.
Exploitation Route Assessing the risks of climate change is one of the key pieces of information necessary for decision-makers to make informed decisions about international climate mitigation agreements, about infrastructure investments, and about planned adaptation to reduce vulnerability to adverse impacts of climate change.
Sectors Agriculture/ Food and Drink,Energy,Environment,Healthcare

Description The results of the project and the methods developed were subsequently used in a number of projects funded by government departments and agencies, including BEIS, the Committee on Climate Change, DfID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These projects were designed to inform government policy on international climate change.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Influence on UK climate policy negotiators
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The paper (Arnell et al., 2013) has been used by DECC to support its position on climate change temperature targets. The paper describes the impacts avoided by different climate change pathways, and was produced during the DECC-funded AVOID project which built upon QUEST-GSI. Subsequent research based on QUEST-GSI has been used by DECC to inform its position during the 2015 COP21 Paris climate negotiations.
Description AVOID
Amount £800,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2009 
End 03/2013
Description AVOID2
Amount £1,450,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2016
Description Impacts of climate change
Amount £31,500 (GBP)
Organisation Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 06/2015
Title QUEST-GSI global impacts 
Description The QUEST-GSI project produced estimates of the impacts of climate change across a range of metrics at gridded (0.5x0.5o) and regional scales. The gridded data are available through BADC, and the regional data are provided as Supplementary Material in published papers. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None yet 
Description Groundwater, Climate Change & Adaptation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Lead presentation at a side event at COP15 in Copenhagen

Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009