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Limitations

The results of this study should be interpreted with care, due to the inherent uncertainties of the integrated assessment. The main limitations are listed below and discussed in greater detail within the PESETA II report. The most important of these will be addressed in future JRC research.

  • Uncertainty: uncertainties in impact assessment results are accumulated throughout the process of producing climate change projections and the subsequent biophysical and economic impact assessments;
  • Limited scope: the analysis undertaken within PESETA II is constrained by data availability, modelling capabilities and quantitative understanding of biophysical and economic processes. The impact areas in the study do not include all relevant impacts. For example, notable non-market impacts such as ecosystem services and biodiversity are omitted, while the agricultural analysis investigates the effect of changes in average temperatures but does not study extreme temperatures;
  • Tipping points: it was not possible to undertake an economic analysis of abrupt climate change (tipping points);
  • Temporal framework: the impacts refer to a hypothetical, counterfactual situation where future climate of the 2080s occurs in today's economy;
  • Adaptation: the PESETA II report deals primarily with climate change impacts. Economic analysis of adaptation options is also required to inform policy in this area;
  • Global impacts: the analysis has assumed that societies in the rest of the world remain unchanged in spite of climate change.

Furthermore, while the study presents damages under both a 2°C and Reference scenario (with and without emissions abatement respectively), the difference between the two should not be interpreted as the benefit of mitigation. This is because some of the areas that are not covered in the study (such as non-market impacts, extremes and tipping points) may have a greater effect under a Reference scenario than a 2°C scenario. In addition, a 2°C scenario may bring additional macroeconomic benefits by reducing the EU's reliance on fossil fuels and protecting against global price shocks.