Scientists commonly explore how past disasters could have turned out differently to improve future disaster risk management. This approach is called downward counterfactual thinking. RECEIPT researchers have created a framework to develop climate storylines based on downward counterfactuals. They tested the framework on the impact of tropical cyclone events on the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF). Here’s what they found.

Natural disasters come at a high price. People lose their homes and revenue, and damaged infrastructures, interrupted trade routes and investment losses cost billions every year. Tropical cyclones are a serious threat to the European outermost regions, EU Member States’ territories located in areas of the globe that are remote from Europe. These outermost regions are susceptible to be affected by local natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones, earthquakes, or drought.

The EU has a Solidarity Fund of 500 million EUR that provides financial relief to EU Member States affected by large natural disasters, whether that is on their mainland or their overseas territories. In 2017, after an especially disastrous earthquake in Italy, the fund’s capital went below zero and upfront payments from 2018 were made. The fund was replenished the following year, as no big payouts were required.

RECEIPT scientists explored whether tropical cyclones could compromise the stability of the EUSF. They found that payouts due to tropical cyclones could hamper the recovery of the fund if large payouts in mainland Europe are needed at the same time. To avoid this scenario, researchers suggest increasing the fund’s capital.

Find out more about the specifics of this study and the framework that was developed for it here.

Published on : 31 August 2021