Climate change

Benefits of Climate Change Policies


What can be meaningfully conveyed to policymakers about the direct benefits of climate policy?  Direct benefits refers to avoided climate change impacts, in both monetary and physical terms, from climate change mitigation and adaptation action. This work area explores the nature and the magnitude of the avoided impacts benefits of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies in different impact areas, such as coastal zones and infrastructure, agriculture and ecosystems. It addresses methodological issues for assessment and quantification of benefits and explores how to better quantify benefits across different scales, from global to more local.

Another type of benefit of climate change policies is known as ancillary or co-benefits (and costs) of climate change policies. For GHG mitigation policies, co-benefits can best be defined as effects that are additional to direct reductions of GHG and impacts of climate change and have estimated to be large, relative to the costs of mitigation (e.g. anywhere from 30% to over 100% of abatement costs). 


Papers & Publications

  • Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change: A Literature Review (2009)
    By Stéphanie Jamet and Jan Corfee-Morlot
    Climate change is expected to have significant implications for the world economy and for many areas of human activity. A main conclusion of the review is that there are large uncertainties, which are not fully reflected in existing estimates of global impacts of climate change in monetary units.
  • Co-benefits of climate change mitigation policies: literature review and new results (2009)
    By Johannes Bollen, Bruno Guay, Stéphanie Jamet and Jan Corfee-Morlot
    There are local air pollution benefits from pursuing greenhouse gases emissions mitigation policies, which lower the net costs of emission reductions and thereby may strengthen the incentives to participate in a global climate change mitigation agreement.
  • Promoting Biodiversity Co-Benefits in REDD (2009)
    By Katia Karousakis
    This report examines how biodiversity co-benefits in REDD can be enhanced, both at the design and implementation level. It discusses potential biodiversity implications of different REDD design options that have been put forward in the international climate change negotiations and proceeds by examining how the creation of additional biodiversity-specific incentives could be used to complement a REDD mechanism, so as to target biodiversity benefits directly. OECD Environment Working Papers no. 11.
    Version françaisePromouvoir les avantages connexes liés à la biodiversité dans le cadre de la REDD.
  • Costs of Inaction on Key Environmental Challenges (2008)
    Inadequate environmental policies can be a significant brake on economic productivity and growth. Countries today face numerous environmental challenges, such as climate change, air and water pollution, natural resource management, natural disasters and industrial accidents. The costs of not responding adequately to these challenges can be considerable, in some cases representing a significant drag on OECD economies. This OECD publication suggests that the economic costs of failing to introduce environmental policies that are “sufficiently ambitious”, can be considerable – i.e. a non-negligible share of GDP.

Related (non-OECD) publications


OECD participation in UNFCCC conferences.


OECD Global Forum on Sustainable Development: The Economic Benefits of Climate Change Policies, Paris, 6-7 July 2006.
A global forum on sustainable development on the economic benefits of climate change policies was held at OECD headquarters in Paris in July 2006. Thirty-five renowned experts from around the globe participated in this forum, whose themes were methods, metrics, national/sectoral reports, risk management, input from "consumers", and provocative proposals to significantly advance the state of the art. All presentations, papers, agendas and list of particpants are available by clicking on the above  title.

Benefits of Climate Policy: Improving Information for Policy Makers, Summary Report, Paris, 12-13 December 2002
View the Agenda, documents and presentations

Benefits of climate policies are an important determinant of the level, type and timing of policies that governments will undertake to address climate change. This project aims to improve information for climate policy makers by outlining a conceptual framework to assess benefits (avoided impacts) at different levels of mitigation.

Ancillary Benefits and Costs of GHG Mitigation Policy Conclusions, Washington DC, 27-29 March 2000
View the Agenda, documents and presentations

Ancillary benefits and costs of greenhouse gas mitigation policies can best be defined as effects that are additional to direct reductions of GHG. In the case of climate change adaptation, ancillary benefits may refer to outcomes that reduce vulnerability in socio-economic or natural systems not related to climate change while also limiting vulnerability to the potential impacts of climate change.