The economics of ocean acidification – a scoping study

Despite the fear that ocean acidification may have serious consequences for human well-being in the future, very little economic research on ocean acidification has been carried out to date. In this scoping report the economic aspects of ocean acidification are presented; applying an ecosystem services approach. After a brief presentation of the ocean acidification issue, we provide an overview of marine ecosystem services that are expected to be affected by ocean acidification. The relevant economic theory and methods for estimating the economic costs of ocean acidification are laid out and discussed. To illustrate the possible magnitude of these economic costs, a case study is carried out presenting selected ecosystem services in Norwegian waters, and how they, based on the current natural science research, are expected to be impacted by ocean acidification. Then the economic effect of these impacts is estimated. The results show that ocean acidification may have negative as well as positive effects upon provisioning services of fisheries and aquaculture with annual net effects being in the order of several million NOK. However, for the regulating service of carbon storage the estimated negative impacts are several orders of magnitude higher than for fisheries and aquaculture. Finally, knowledge gaps with regards to estimating the economic loss due to ocean acidification are identified. 

Armstrong C. W., Holen S., Navrud S. & Seifert I., 2012. The economics of ocean acidification – a scoping study, 57 p. Report.

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