Effects of educational attainment on climate risk vulnerability

Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Erich Striessnig, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/Ă–AW, WU)
Anthony Patt, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

In the context of still uncertain specific effects of climate change in specific locations we stress that education should be seen as a central factor that both increases coping capacity with regard to particular climatic changes and improves the resilience of people to climate risks in general. Our hypothesis is that investments in universal primary and secondary education around the world are the most effective strategy for preparing to cope with the still uncertain dangers associated with future climate. The empirical evidence presented for cross-country time series of factors associated with past natural disaster fatalities since 1980 in 108 countries confirms this overriding importance of education in reducing impacts. We also present new projections of populations by age, sex and level of educational attainment to 2050 which provide an appropriate tool for anticipating societies’ future adaptive capacities based on alternative education scenarios associated with different policies.

Presented in Session 86: Climate change: vulnerability, adaptation, and migration