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Vulnerability and Adaptation

Identifying and reducing vulnerability of the built environment and economies to climate change at community, national and global scale


Group Leader: Scott Kelly
Group members:


The work in Vulnerability and Adaptation develops quantitative models of the impacts of climate change on buildings, infrastructure, industrial processes and the broader economy. The research is aimed at understanding how vulnerable communities and economic sectors are to climate impacts, and how adaptation strategies can reduce this vulnerability. Much of this work is carried out in collaboration with research groups throughout the UK and EU.

The projects make use of input-output models of a community or national economy to understand the direct and indirect impacts of damage to the built environment and production systems.

Vulnerability diagram 

A typical flow diagram of calculations for the vulnerability and adaptation work. Within the consortia, 4CMR tends to focus on the economic analysis, represented here by the Adaptive Regional Input-Output model or ARIO, in addition to human health impacts.

We also examine the reliance of economic sectors on different kinds of infrastructure. This allows us to understand how damage to infrastructure, perhaps through climate change but also to any cause of damage, causes impacts on the production capacity of those sectors.

sector vulnerability   

Research by Dr Scott Kelly at 4CMR is mapping how forward and backward linkages in an economic sector rely on the various categories of infrastructure. Values of above 1 indicate a more-than-average reliance of the economy on that component of infrastructure. The numbers above the bars refer to the economic sectors of the input-output model used for the UK. 


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Related Projects

ToPDAd: developing assessment tools to assess strategies for reducing vulnerability of the energy, transport and tourism sectors of EU nations to climate change.

ITRC: examining the vulnerability of the UK economy to disruption of infrastructure, and assessing strategies to reduce that vulnerability.

ARCADIA: developing a linked suite of tools to assess the risks of climate change, combining climate science, engineering, spatial analysis, economics and risk assessment. 



Jun Li, Crawford-Brown, D., Syddall, M. and Guan, D., "Modeling imbalanced economic recovery following a natural disaster using input–output analysis", Risk Analysis, 2013.

Crawford-Brown, D., Syddall, M., Guan, D., Hall, J, Jun Li, Jenkins, K. and Beaven, R., " Vulnerability of London’s economy to climate change: Sensitivity to production loss", Journal of Environmental Protection, 4, 548-563, 2013.


Briefing Papers

Vulnerability of Economies to Climate Change: The Case of London




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4CMR has finished its cycle, and has been replaced by the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG). C-EENRG is also located in the Department of Land Economy, with a core mission to "conduct integrative research on the governance of environmental transitions, understood as social and technological processes driven by environmental constraints that lead to fundamental changes in social organisation."

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