Climate change

Adaptation to climate change - main work areas


OECD work on adaptation to climate change focus on three main areas: (1)  Economic aspects of adaptation; (2) Adaptation and development; and (3) Adaptation in OECD countries.

Economic aspects of adaptation




It is projected that the costs of adaptating to the impacts of climate change over the coming decades will be in the order of tens to hundreds of billions of US dollars per annum. The OECD's research and analysis has explored how countries can pursue innovation, engage with private sector and use a full range of policy instruments to prepare for these impacts in an efficient  and equitable way.


Current Project

The lack of suitable economic tools and evidence remains a barrier to the design and implementation of adaptation policies in most OECD countries. This project on Economic Tools for Adaptation aims to assist OECD and emerging economies in putting their adaptation strategies into practice, by providing guidance on the prioritisation, appraisal and the evaluation of adaptation measures. A policy workshop will be organised in summer of 2014, with the aim to develop an OECD guidance by 2015. For details and more information, please contact


Key Publications:


Adaptation and Innovation: An Analysis of Crop Biotechnology Patent Data (2012) presents a quantitative analysis of innovation in crop biotechnology for adaptation, based on patent application data for innovations to help plants cope with environmental stresses. Also available in French.




Private Sector Engagement in Adaptation to Climate Change: Approaches to Managing Climate Risks (2011) examines businesses' awareness of and responses to climate change risks, the factors which affect their engagement in adaptation, and how the public sector can enable action. Also available in French.


Plan or React? Analysis of Adaptation Costs and Benefits using Integrated Assessment Models (2010) uses an integrated modelling framework to examine the global and regional costs of adaptation, and the most efficient and effective mix of different adaptation and mitigation policies.


Economic Aspects of Adaptation to Climate Change - Costs Benefits and Policy Instruments (2008) provides a critical assessment of adaptation costs and benefits in key climate sensitive sectors, and the potential and limits of economic and policy instruments for motivating adaptation.


Adaptation and development



Developing countries are projected to be particularly vulnerable to climate change - environmentally, economically and socially. It is therefore crucial that adaptation is included in development programmes and economic growth plans.  Moreover, as international funding targeted at  adaptation increases, it important to ensure the effectiveness, equity and efficiency of  adaptation interventions, through robust monitoring and evaluation.

Current projects

Recent releases


Monitoring and Evaluation of climate change adaptation is second focus of our work on adaptation and development. In particular, we are exploring tools that can inform the monitoring and evaluation of adaptation at a national level in developing countries. This is due to be published in Summer 2014. For more information on monitoring and evaluation of adaptation in developing countries, please contact


Key Publications:

    Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptation: Lessons from Development Co-operation Agencies (2012) provides the first empirical assessment of M&E frameworks used by development co-operation agencies and shares lessons learned and common characteristics of M&E for adaptation.

Harmonising Climate Risk Management: Adaptation Screening and Assessment Tools for Development Co-operation (2011) provides an overview and assessment of tools for screening climate risks and integrating adaptation into development planning processes.

  The OECD policy guidance Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation: Policy Guidance (2009) provides essential information and advice on how to mainstream climate change into development, including into national-, sectoral-, project-  and local-level development policies.


Adaptation in OECD countries



Climate change will have signigicant impacts across OECD countries - it will affect key economic sectors, such as health, agriculture and water, and the delivery of public services. While developed countries have made significant progress in adapation planning and implementation over the last decades, significant policy challenges remain. The OECD has been active in helping countries to share their adaptation experiences and inform the development of policy solutions.


Key Publications:

  Latest report: National Adaptation Planning: Lessons from OECD Countries (2013) provides an overview of progress in adaptation planning across the OECD, and lessons learnt from countries' experiences in evidence provision, strategic planning and policy implementation (also available in French, Planification nationale de l'adaptation : L'expérience des pays de l'OCDE).


Policy Forum on Adaptation to Climate Change in OECD countries (2012) brought together adaptation practitioners and experts to discuss progress in national adaptation planning, including  common challenegs and successes, monitoring and evaluation, and the role of the private sector.

  Incorporating Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Environmental Impact Assessments: Opportunities and Challenges (2010) assesses the feasibility of incorporating climate change impacts and adaptation within existing Environmental Impact Assessment procedures. 
  Climate Change in the European Alps - Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards Management (2007) examines climate change impacts on Alpine snow-reliability and natural hazards, and reviews possible technological, behavioural and structural adaptation measures.

For a complete list, please see our publications page.


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