Posts Tagged 'socio-economy'

A good Kiwi isn’t acidic: how ocean acidification is affecting the New Zealand economy

In a country that houses a mere 4 million people, it is no wonder that agriculture has become the main facet of New Zealand’s economy. However, while the sheep and produce have flourished from land protection laws, marine life has struggled in recent years due to an increase in oceanic carbon levels. In an area of the Pacific that is so rich in coral reefs, Great White breeding areas, and a plethora of fish species, any upset of the natural preexisting chemical balance has a tangible impact. New Zealand is dealing with a crisis with huge economic and ecological ramifications. I study the exact adverse effects that ocean acidification has had on the economy of New Zealand. The scientific process of how ocean acidification occurs is a building block of this understanding as well as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. The rise of marine pH levels is inextricably linked to the downturn of prosperity in New Zealand’s agricultural sector. My solutions address stricter policies in regards to fishing and emissions regulations to augment the regulation of established New Zealand commercial fishing laws. In this thesis, my goal is to highlight that ocean acidification is a climate problem that affects the entire New Zealand population. By putting these effects into economic terms, I hope to urge change in the “business as usual” way countries conduct themselves, starting with policy makers whose focus is growing their GDP. To illustrate this point effectively, I utilize the disciplines of chemistry, economics, and politics to analyze the trends and consequences of ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘A good Kiwi isn’t acidic: how ocean acidification is affecting the New Zealand economy’

The influence of ocean acidification on the economic vitality of shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest: A meta-analysis

Ocean acidification is the chemical process that results in the decrease of ocean pH levels. This decrease is caused by the diffusion of atmospheric carbon dioxide into Earth’s oceans. In other words, Earth’s oceans act as a carbon sink for atmospheric carbon. Prior to the industrial revolution in 1760, the ocean regulated the amount of carbon in earth’s atmosphere in a manner that did not threaten marine ecosystems. However, due to the increased combustion of fossil fuels due to rapid industrialization, urbanization, and population growth, oceans have begun to take up excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, resulting in an alteration of oceanic chemistry. The accumulation of hydrogen ions in ocean water due to the chemical reaction between carbonate carbon dioxide, and water have increased the acidity of the ocean. This has created a corrosive environment for shell-forming organisms that rely on carbonate for their exoskeletons. Many of these organisms, especially those in the Mollusca phylum, are commercially valuable. Ocean acidification has already begun its impact on the shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest. However, if a business-as-usual scenario of carbon combustion prevails over use of alternative energy sources and mandatory terrestrial pollutant controls, the impact on shellfish aquaculture firms will only intensify and threaten the industry and its associated jobs and revenue. Local, state and federal authorities and agencies have begun to take steps to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. Mitigation strategies are analyzed on their basis to effectively diminish the physiological and economic impact of ocean acidification on shellfish aquaculture operations. The question remains if these strategies will be able to successfully inhibit the ongoing process of ocean acidification, or simply just delay the impacts.

Continue reading ‘The influence of ocean acidification on the economic vitality of shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest: A meta-analysis’

Impacts of climate change on fish and shellfish in the coastal and marine environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

The commercially important fish and shellfish of Caribbean SIDS have been considered in four groups based on environment and following the typical division of fishery groups used in this region.

There is a dearth of research and long-term datasets on the impacts of climate change on Caribbean marine environments and the important fishery resources. Most research to date has been outside of the Caribbean and has examined the impacts of one or two stressors in short-term ex situ experiments which are unlikely to accurately reflect the true complexity of long-term in situ impacts of climate change in the region. There is a need to consider the combined effects of climate change stressors (direct and indirect) on both individuals and ecosystems, together with the synergistic effects of other chronic anthropogenic stressors in the region.

We consider the reef-associated shallow shelf group to be the most vulnerable of the four fishery groups given: 1) the already apparent negative climate change impacts on their critical habitats; 2) the overexploited state of most reef-associated fishery stocks; 3) the already degraded state of their nearshore habitats as a result of other anthropogenic activities; and 4) their biphasic life history, requiring the ability to settle in specific benthic nursery habitat from a pelagic early life stage.

We consider the most resilient group, over the short-term, to be the oceanic pelagic species that generally show fewer negative responses to the climate change stressors given that they: 1) are highly mobile with generally good acid-base regulation; 2) have an entirely pelagic lifecycle; 3) have less vulnerable reproductive strategies (i.e. they have extended spawning seasons and over broad areas); and 4) are generally exposed to fewer or less severe anthropogenic stressors.

This summary is provided with the following important caveat: “Any attempt to report on what has already happened to fish and shellfish resources in the Caribbean, based on direct evidence, will be strongly biased by the fact that there is a lack of monitoring and directed research examining fish and shellfish species-level impacts of climate change in this region. As such, any conclusions drawn from direct evidence alone will likely misrepresent the true nature and extent of the climate change impacts on the coastal and marine fish and shellfish resources within the Caribbean to date.”

Continue reading ‘Impacts of climate change on fish and shellfish in the coastal and marine environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’

Impacts of climate change on coral in the coastal and marine environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Coral reefs are integral to life in the Caribbean – providing protection from storms, sustaining national economies and livelihoods through tourism and fishing, and supporting culture, recreation and biodiversity conservation. Over a decade ago, their value was estimated at US$3.1 – 4.6 billion each year.

Climate change is already impacting coral reefs in the Caribbean, through coral bleaching, disease outbreaks, ocean acidification and physical damage from stronger hurricanes. Coral beaching is the most visible, wide-spread and iconic manifestation of climate change on reefs, with major events in the Caribbean in 1998, 2010 and 2015/16. The extent of bleaching and associated mortality varies by location and event, but has resulted in some mortality. Coral disease has already significantly altered the community composition of reefs in the Caribbean, and is projected to result in increasing frequency of outbreaks as seas warm. The lack of a centralized database to coordinate reef monitoring information, hampers efforts to measure these effects.

Ocean acidification is a direct chemical result of increased carbon dioxide, but it has a variety of different responses in different reef organisms. Corals are the brick foundations of the reef, with crustose coralline algae as their mortar. Both these critical functional groups are already being affected by the reduced pH of surface water, making it more difficult to calcify and grow.

Future impacts are expected to follow and accelerate on these trends.

By 2040–2043 projections are for the onset of annual severe bleaching, which would likely result in significant coral mortality. Disease outbreaks are predicted to become annual events several years earlier. Projections for future ocean acidification result in ocean carbonate saturation levels potentially dropping below those required to sustain coral reef accretion by 2050. Cutting emissions in CO2 (within RCP6.0) would buy many coral reefs a couple of decades more time before the worst impacts occur, but it delays rather than mitigates the threats posed to coral reefs by acidification and bleaching (Maynard et al, 2016).

National leaders of the Caribbean need to adamantly fight for CO2 emissions reductions, and ensure their reef management agencies take all precautionary measures needed to reduce local stress on their reefs to buy them additional time and resiliency potential for withstanding the stress of climate change.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of climate change on coral in the coastal and marine environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’

The social cost of carbon

The social cost of carbon (SCC) provides a monetary measure of the net global harm resulting from a small increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Conversely, it also measures the net reduction in harm (social benefit) from a decrease. Federal agencies in the United States have developed a range of estimates of the SCC, with core values that anticipate net costs of about $50 per metric ton for emissions of carbon dioxide in the next few years, rising to about $80 for mid-century emissions. These estimates embody considerable uncertainty, and multiple factors indicate the actual SCC is probably several hundred dollars per ton. Those seeking to promote sustainable improvements in human wellbeing should forgo actions that would increase atmospheric carbon dioxide—or other greenhouse gasses with equivalent effects—unless they can yield benefits that more than offset these costs.

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Identifying potential consequences of natural perturbations and management decisions on a coastal fishery social-ecological system using qualitative loop analysis

Managing for sustainable development and resource extraction requires an understanding of the feedbacks between ecosystems and humans. These feedbacks are part of complex social-ecological systems (SES), in which resources, actors, and governance systems interact to produce outcomes across these component parts. Qualitative modeling approaches offer ways to assess complex SES dynamics. Loop analysis in particular is useful for examining and identifying potential outcomes from external perturbations and management interventions in data poor systems when very little is known about functional relationships and parameter values. Using a case study of multispecies, multifleet coastal small-scale fisheries, we demonstrate the application of loop analysis to provide predictions regarding SES responses to perturbations and management actions. Specifically, we examine the potential ecological and socioeconomic consequences to coastal fisheries of different governance interventions (e.g., territorial user rights, fisheries closures, market-based incentives, ecotourism subsidies) and environmental changes. Our results indicate that complex feedbacks among biophysical and socioeconomic components can result in counterintuitive and unexpected outcomes. For example, creating new jobs through ecotourism or subsidies might have mixed effects on members of fishing cooperatives vs. nonmembers, highlighting equity issues. Market-based interventions, such as ecolabels, are expected to have overall positive economic effects, assuming a direct effect of ecolabels on market-prices, and a lack of negative biological impacts under most model structures. Our results highlight that integrating ecological and social variables in a unique unit of management can reveal important potential trade-offs between desirable ecological and social outcomes, highlight which user groups might be more vulnerable to external shocks, and identify which interventions should be further tested to identify potential win-win outcomes across the triple-bottom line of the sustainable development paradigm.

Continue reading ‘Identifying potential consequences of natural perturbations and management decisions on a coastal fishery social-ecological system using qualitative loop analysis’

Linking the biological impacts of ocean acidification on oysters to changes in ecosystem services: A review

Continued anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying our oceans, and hydrogen ion concentrations in surface oceans are predicted to increase 150% by 2100. Ocean acidification (OA) is changing ocean carbonate chemistry, including causing rapid reductions in calcium carbonate availability with implications for many marine organisms, including biogenic reefs formed by oysters. The impacts of OA are marked. Adult oysters display both decreased growth and calcification rates, while larval oysters show stunted growth, developmental abnormalities, and increased mortality. These physiological impacts are affecting ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services by oyster reefs. Oysters are ecologically and economically important, providing a wide range of ecosystem services, such as improved water quality, coastlines protection, and food provision. OA has the potential to alter the delivery and the quality of the ecosystem services associated with oyster reefs, with significant ecological and economic losses. This review provides a summary of current knowledge of OA on oyster biology, but then links these impacts to potential changes to the provision of ecosystem services associated with healthy oyster reefs.

Continue reading ‘Linking the biological impacts of ocean acidification on oysters to changes in ecosystem services: A review’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book