Marine ecosystems, and the services they provide, are predicted to alter considerably as a result of climate change. This paper outlines important expected alterations in these ecosystems, considers their economic consequences, and examines economic policies that may be adopted in response to these changes. In doing so, it focuses on two main cases, namely findings about the impact of ocean acidification (and climate change generally) on the Norwegian fisheries and predictions about alterations in coral reef systems. A number of theoretical issues are raised. These include the possibility that if economic impact analysis is used to measure economic value, the global economic value of coral reefs could rise as their area is reduced. This, however, is not necessarily an appropriate measure of economic value, even though it is often used for this purpose. Also the importance of taking into account the opportunity costs involved in conserving marine ecosystems is stressed. Furthermore, several dynamic aspects of variations in marine ecosystems are shown to be important for valuation purposes as well as for economic policy. Both the economics of mitigation and adjustment policies are discussed. Optimal economic policies for responding to climate change are shown to be sensitive to the dynamics of ecosystem change and are likely to vary regionally.
Tags: corals, fisheries, mitigation, Policy, socio-economy
Although some people in the general public remain skeptical about the impacts of ocean acidification, a growing number of professionals who make their living off the ocean have become believers.
A newly published survey found that more than 80 percent of respondents from the United States shellfish industry on the West Coast are convinced that acidification is having consequences – a figure more than four times higher than that of public perception, researchers say. About half of the people in the industry report having already experienced some impact from acidification.
Most of us are familiar with the carbon cycle, which is good because we depend on it for life. To put it simply, animals exhale carbon dioxide, and decomposing animals release carbon, while plants take in CO₂ during photosynthesis. The carbon cycle does require that some CO₂ be released into the atmosphere, but currently, anthropogenic (human-generated) activities are taking care of this to the extreme. Many are aware of carbon dioxide’s contributions to global warming and the changes it is bringing to the sea levels, droughts, and seasonal storms, but few follow and understand the full effect of global warming through the whole carbon cycle- which often ends up in the ocean.
We’re breaking down what ocean acidification is and how it’s impacting us.
What is ocean acidification?
Ocean acidification is when carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater and results in various chemical reactions. These chemical reactions affect seawater such as reducing the pH level, carbonating ion concentration, and the saturation state of important calcium carbonate minerals. All of these reactions are termed “ocean acidification” or “OA” for short.
Isabella O’Brien wants to help solve the problem of ocean acidification. O’Brien is one of the twenty Global Finalists in the 2015 Google Science Fair, with winners to be announced on September 21, 2015. Her inspiration came after a diving trip in Mexico where she saw large amounts of dead coral and wanted to find a way to stop the destruction of the marine environment.
David Hutchins, Philip Boyd, Ulf Riebesell, and Jean-Pierre Gattuso would like to invite the ocean global change research community to submit an abstract to their session at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting, 21-26 February 2016, New Orleans. The session (abstract below) will focus on the effects of multiple environmental change drivers, including ocean acidification, on marine organisms at all trophic levels, including research employing experiments, modeling, and observations. The abstract deadline is coming up soon on September 23rd (http://osm.agu.org/2016/abstract-submissions).
They are aiming to see the best new research in this fast-moving field presented at this session and look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!