Economics of Ocean Acidification

The Monaco Environment and Economics Dialogues
The Monaco Declaration was drafted at the request of HSH Prince Albert II, following His participation in the Second International Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World, in 2008. A major recommendation to policymakers in the Declaration is to develop links between economists and scientists, so as to better evaluate the socioeconomic extent of impacts and costs for action versus inaction, with regard to carbon emissions. Although the science of ocean acidification is still young, its predictions for the global marine environment are so alarming that they warrant action in the imminent future. Because of the importance of economic valuation in motivating policy change with regard to climate change issues, there is a clear need to enhance the dialogue between science and economics in this rapidly emerging area of social concern. However such a thorough economic valuation of the costs of climate change on the marine environment, specifically with regard to ocean acidification, has not been undertaken.

In the spirit of the Monaco Declaration and in accordance with the wishes of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA Director General, The Monaco Environment and Economics Group, has been established between the Scientific Centre of Monaco and the IAEA Marine Environment Laboratories. To begin the development of linkages between environmental science and economics, it is proposed to hold a first Workshop in Monaco entitled:

Bridging the Gap between Ocean Acidification Impacts and Economic Valuation with the following objectives:

  • To bring together the leading scientific investigators of ocean acidification and natural resource economics, to discuss both what is currently known about ocean acidification, its biological effects and its predicted global impacts, and ways to evaluate its potential economic costs to fisheries, aquaculture and tourism, with an emphasis on the Mediterranean.
  • Through this interaction between scientists and economists to develop plausible scenarios of the scales of the costs associated with ocean acidification, as related to different carbon emission rates, as modelled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • To provide a venue where high level governmental policy makers, relevant international and regional Mediterranean organisations (eg. FAO Fisheries, UNEP, UNDP, IOC, CIESM) and private industry (eg. Aquaculture, Fisheries and Tourism) can be advised in a timely fashion of the likely magnitudes of these societal costs associated with ocean acidification, that are in addition to those carbon costs previously estimated for climate change scenarios (ie. the Stern Review).
  • To support the more rapid de-carbonisation of the world economy through better valuation of the full social costs of carbon emissions and the benefits of policy actions for their reductions.

Structure of the Workshop
The first Workshop is planned for 2.5 days, with the first 1.5 days given over to presentations. International leaders in the fields of the science of future ocean acidification impacts on the marine environment would specifically focus on its potential effects on fisheries, aquaculture and underpinning biodiversity. Leading natural resource economists would give presentations on economic valuation approaches to assessing costs of ocean acidification and their applications to the estimations of costs to the fisheries/aquaculture and tourism industries, and the underpinning value of biodiversity. They would provide recommendations and an appropriate methodology to consider different policy or management options. The threat of ocean acidification to the “blue revolution” in enhanced aquaculture production to contribute to people’s welfare will also be addressed.

During the final two half days two breakout groups on i) fisheries/aquaculture and ii) tourism would brainstorm on how to proceed in the assessment of the potential scales of economic costs of ocean acidification to these two industries, the potential social impacts and the relevance of these assessments to the formulation of carbon mitigation policy. These finding would then be communicated to all attendees, with a plan for future actions and recommendations.

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OA-ICC Highlights

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