During the past century, deep global climate change has accompanied the expanding industrialisation of our economies. The speed of this change amplified at the beginning of the 2000s and is associated with an increasing number of extreme meteorological events: floods, droughts, typhoons, hurricanes, dust storms and forest fires, and intense low and high temperatures.
The last IPCC international conferences showed this rapid climate change to be mainly due to human activities. These influence the climate through massive industrial and agricultural production, transport, consumption, etc. A change of habit and a move towards less pollutant production would not produce beneficial effects for a long time. Hence, it is necessary to consider adapting existing infrastructures based on the consequences of changes in the climate.
Among them, ultra-hazardous activities are of particularly high importance not only because of their lethal consequences after the occurrence of a disastrous event, but also because of long-run effects on human and animal health, the environment, etc. Repetitions of climate hazards contribute to the weakening of global infrastructures such as harbours, communication ways, dikes, sea walls, etc. Hence, climate change directly or indirectly affects the safety level of facilities involved in ultra-hazardous activities. Consequently, it is the duty of the states to induce the managers to reinforce their facilities’ safety. Obviously, this involves making costly economic choices.
From an economic viewpoint, this increased vulnerability of both global infrastructures and ultra-hazardous activities requires from public and private decision makers a better understanding of the level of potential damages, a review of causality chains of events, and a better definition of the nature of internal and trans-boundary responsibilities.
Hence, this special issue’s aim is to contribute to an improved knowledge of climate change’s consequences regarding high-risk activities. Another goal concerns the way by which economic policies can help to make them safer; this essentially considers the prevention side of the adaptation process to global warming.
Overall, having a clear insight into how to strengthen risky infrastructures appears to be of utmost importance. Thus, among the most significant policy issues, the question of how defining the incentive schemes that induce managers to become more aware of the consequences of the climate change on their activities is an important matter. Incentives can be contractual between the regional regulator and the facilities managers. Beyond contracts, the liability question is at stake. Should we use strict liability (that is induced by ultra-hazardous activity) or should we introduce negligence rules to induce the best care schemes?
Another trend in questioning bears on the nature of the care itself. Is it better to strengthen existing infrastructures, moving them away to more secure places? Alternatively, is it better to give them up and move towards new, more secure technologies? What is the place of aversion for risk or aversion for ambiguity?
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Global change and adaptation of huge infrastructures
- Prevention and precaution principles
- Asymmetric information and contractual relationships with risky activities
- Tort law and liability regimes
- Real option theory adapted to climate change
- Insurance theory
- Assessment of damages
- Resiliency from an economic viewpoint
Submission of manuscripts: 15 April, 2014
Notification to authors: 15 July, 2014
Final versions due: 1 September, 2014