Cost-benefit assessment of climate adaptation measures in Switzerland under uncertainties

The economic evaluation of different adaptation options is an important tool to help policy-makers setting priorities in the decision-making process. However, decision preferences face considerable uncertainties in the face of unpredictable climate events, least because the climate system is a highly complex system characterized by interactions between physical processes and human behaviour.

In this project, sponsored by the Climate Division of the Bundesamt für Umwelt (BAFU), we developed a dynamic, stochastic model and used dynamic programming to explore the optimal adaptation decisions under uncertainty in face of uncertain impacts from climate change such as debris flows and flooding in the region of Grimsel/Guttannen (Switzerland). At a further stage of the project, we intend to streamline this approach in order to provide decision and policy makers with guidelines to guide decisions under uncertainties. Particular emphasis is placed to the framing, scoping and problem definition within the social, cultural, political and environmental context of the local stakeholders

Alps, adaptation, cost-benefit assessment
2013 – 2015
Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN/BAFU)
  • BAFU (Swiss federal Office for the Environment)
  • University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration
  • Muccione, V., Salzmann, N. and Huggel, C. 2016. Scientific knowledge and knowledge needs in climate adaptation policy. Mountain Research and Development 36, 364 – 375. doi:10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-15-00016.1
  • UZH/FOEN. 2015. Guidelines for the assessment of climate adaptation measures in Switzerland at the local level and under uncertainties. Project Report