Posts Tagged 'Policy'

Climate-smart design for ecosystem management: a test application for coral reefs

The interactive and cumulative impacts of climate change on natural resources such as coral reefs present numerous challenges for conservation planning and management. Climate change adaptation is complex due to climate-stressor interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales. This leaves decision makers worldwide faced with local, regional, and global-scale threats to ecosystem processes and services, occurring over time frames that require both near-term and long-term planning. Thus there is a need for structured approaches to adaptation planning that integrate existing methods for vulnerability assessment with design and evaluation of effective adaptation responses. The Corals and Climate Adaptation Planning project of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force seeks to develop guidance for improving coral reef management through tailored application of a climate-smart approach. This approach is based on principles from a recently-published guide which provides a framework for adopting forward-looking goals, based on assessing vulnerabilities to climate change and applying a structured process to design effective adaptation strategies. Work presented in this paper includes: (1) examination of the climate-smart management cycle as it relates to coral reefs; (2) a compilation of adaptation strategies for coral reefs drawn from a comprehensive review of the literature; (3) in-depth demonstration of climate-smart design for place-based crafting of robust adaptation actions; and (4) feedback from stakeholders on the perceived usefulness of the approach. We conclude with a discussion of lessons-learned on integrating climate-smart design into real-world management planning processes and a call from stakeholders for an “adaptation design tool” that is now under development.

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Adaptation policies and strategies as a response to ocean acidification and warming in the Mediterranean Sea

1. Introduction

The ocean are a fundamental component of the Earth’s climate regulation, life and its carbon cycle. By burning fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution, and thus emitting large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, humans are changing the ocean in several ways. In particular, the ocean is absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) at such an unprecedented rate that it is rapidly changing its chemistry, resulting in “ocean acidification”, a reduction in pH, carbonate ion concentration and the ocean’s buffering capacity. Ocean acidification is a global environmental issue posing a threat to open ocean and coastal marine ecosystems, including semi-enclosed seas such as the Mediterranean Sea. (…)

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Ocean acidification: impacts and governance

1. What is ocean acidification?

The ocean provides a vital benefit to human society by absorbing one-fourth of all man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere, thus substantially limiting climate change (Le Quéré et al. 2015). However, oceanic CO2 uptake come with a cost. Known s “the other CO2 problem”, ocean acidification is a new and emerging challenge for sustainable development and ocean governance. In short, the term describes a series of chemical changes occurring when atmospheric CO2 dissolves in seawater, with potentially dire consequences for marine organisms, ecosystems and the services they provide. (…)

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Ocean acidification and warming: the economic toll and implications for the social cost of carbon

Mounting evidence indicates that ocean acidification and warming (OAW) pose significant risks of systemic collapse of many critical ocean and coastal ecosystem services. Attention has been focused on the drastic reductions, if not extinction, of coral reefs, inundation of coastlines, massive ocean dead zones, collapse of both capture and subsistence fisheries in highly dependent regions and significant disruption of the ocean’s carbon sequestration capacity. The economic costs of OAW have yet to be adequately researched or included in estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC). This article summarizes current knowledge about the economic costs of OAW and suggests alternative approaches for incorporating these costs into the federal government’s SCC. Preliminary results suggest that accounting for OAW would raise SCC 1.5–4.7 times higher than the current federal rate, to $60–$200 mt− 1 CO2-e.

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Quantitative analysis of anthropogenic influences on coastal water – A new perspective

Coastal environment has been disturbed by human activities for a long time, especially in the rapidly urbanizing and industrializing areas. Although the surrounding area has achieved great economic success in the past 30 years, Western Xiamen Bay (China) is seriously affected by pollutants and is facing increasing ecological pressure. Because of this, Xiamen was selected in 1994 as a demonstration site for implementing an integrated coastal management program, which included a series of measures for protecting the coastal environment. However, coastal environment is dynamic, complex and site-specific, and thus a scientific quantitative evaluation framework is necessary for environment quality analysis and effective coastal management. In this study, we used oceanographic knowledge together with quantitative methods (Bai-Perron’s structural break test) to analyze the long-term variations of water quality indices (pH, DO, COD, DIN, PO4-P and Oil) in Western Xiamen Bay. In addition, we compared with other coastal areas to identify the effectiveness of phosphorus-based nutrient management measures and predicted the probable variation trend in the future. The results show that in Western Xiamen Bay: (1) the concentrations of DO and Oil in seawater are effectively controlled by local coastal management measures; (2) seawater acidification will continue to worsen based on the present situation; and (3) the P-limitation treatment strategies are effective and PO4-P concentration starts to fall according to the multiple statistical analysis and Environmental Kuznets Curve. This paper hopes to provide an epitome of the conflicts and consolations between socioeconomic development and environmental quality in the past, and hints for coastal management in the future.

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Response and adaptation to climate change in the South China Sea and Coral Sea

Over the past decades, climate change in the tropical western Pacific has led to surface warming, a distinct decrease in sea surface salinity, obvious sea level rise (SLR), and ocean acidification in the South China Sea (SCS) and Coral Sea (CS), which have had profound impacts on marine ecosystems and coastal communities. The aim of this study is to examine and compare the extent of marine climate change in these two areas, and to summarize possible adaptations in response to climate change. Our results indicate that a fast rise in sea surface temperature (SST) at a rate of more than 0.07 °C decade−1 and a decrease in sea surface salinity (SSS) at a rate of more than −0.09 g kg−1 decade−1 appeared in the SCS, which are greater than that in the CS, although SST changes also show a plateau consistent with the global warming hiatus since 2000. As a proxy for marine productivity, concentrations of chlorophyll-a apparently varied with the SSS and SST changes in the two areas. Our findings suggest that marine ecosystem functions have been greatly affected by climate change through changes in tropical evaporation and rainfall. Meanwhile, persistent SLR and ocean acidification pose serious threats to low-lying coastal areas, small islands, coral-dominated reef ecosystems, and related subsistence fisheries. The sustainable development of communities in low-lying coastal zones and small islands faces significant future challenge. Adaptation strategies for mitigating the effects of climate changes need to be developed and put forward.

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Valuing climate damages: Updating estimation of the social cost of carbon dioxide

The social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) is an economic metric intended to provide a comprehensive estimate of the net damages – that is, the monetized value of the net impacts, both negative and positive – from the global climate change that results from a small (1-metric ton) increase in carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions. Under Executive Orders regarding regulatory impact analysis and as required by a court ruling, the U.S. government has since 2008 used estimates of the SC-CO2 in federal rulemakings to value the costs and benefits associated with changes in CO2 emissions. In 2010, the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (IWG) developed a methodology for estimating the SC-CO2 across a range of assumptions about future socioeconomic and physical earth systems.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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