This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Abt’s Cost-Benefit Tools Excel at Addressing Climate Change Strategies

Responding to climate change isn’t optional, but stakeholders can pursue the best options--if they have the right tools. Among those are cost-benefit analyses. Given the multiple factors involved in determining emissions and the potential benefits of different strategies, an easy-to-use resource that calculates these variables quickly can be invaluable to decisionmakers under pressure to address an urgent challenge. Using customizable Excel-based templates, Abt is helping agencies such as EPA, USAID, and OSHA to develop the strategies needed to help adapt to the impacts of climate change and avoid its most harmful consequences.

Understanding Health Impacts

Fossil-fueled powered electricity contributes to climate change. It also generates air pollution that harms public health and leads to increased respiratory and cardiovascular illness and premature death. Abt developed EPA's CO–Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) tool, which converts emissions reductions into air quality improvements and then estimates and monetizes the adverse health impacts avoided, from aggravated asthma and work days lost to heart attacks and deaths. Through these calculations, COBRA arms users with persuasive data for informed decisions and consensus building at the county, state, and national level.

”An important part of devising solutions to climate change is building consensus,” says David Cooley, Abt senior associate. “Reflecting the impact of emissions in real-world terms can demonstrate the urgency of the issue to a broad range of stakeholders.”

Improving Farming Practices … and Farmers’ Incomes

We apply the same principles globally. Working with USAID’s Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment, and Resilience (CEADIR) Activity, Abt analyzed the costs and benefits of improved management practices for cattle and small ruminants in Ethiopia. Working with livestock farmers, Abt conducted a financial analysis estimating the incremental net present value of the three improved management practices over a 15-20 year period (varying across the practices), followed by a 50-year timeframe economic analysis. The analysis demonstrated the subsidies needed to ensure farmers could afford to adopt the practices, and the value of the benefits in reduced greenhouse gases.

Making the Most of Mangroves

Mozambique is highly vulnerable to flooding due to frequent severe cyclones, and 60 percent of the population is located along the coast. CEADIR conducted a cost-benefit analysis of scaling up mangrove restoration to reduce flooding risks compared to an alternative resilience strategy of constructing an earthen dike. The analysis focused on reducing flood damage risks to homes and assessing impacts on fishing and aquaculture, beekeeping, and carbon sequestration, among other outcomes.

In addition to a CBA report, the CEADIR team shared a record of all analyzed scenarios and their associated projected impacts in a workbook tool that can be adapted for different local contexts and assumptions.

In Indonesia, another CEADIR cost-benefit analysis found that the preservation of mangroves provided demonstrable aquaculture benefits in addition to benefits from  carbon sequestration. Both financial and social costs were captured in the analysis.

“You’ve got to understand the local needs,” says Abt Senior Climate Change and Environmental Specialist Santiago Enriquez. “Our tools are adaptable to local conditions, so our clients can identify the solutions that reflect—and best address—their circumstances.”

The causes of climate change, greenhouse gases, and other hazardous emissions are complex, but the threat is singular. Abt’s cost-benefit analyses offer a practical solution for agencies around the globe looking for flexible, speedy analysis and reliable data.

Learn more about our CBA work:

Work With Us
Ready to change people's lives? We want to hear from you.
We do more than solve the challenges our clients have today. We collaborate to solve the challenges of tomorrow.