7 November 2019, Madrid, Spain – A new scientific paper commissioned by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy was launched during the Building the Resilience of the Ocean Economy side event at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion.
The paper, entitled “The Expected Impacts of Climate Change on the Ocean Economy, provides a first-of-its-kind analysis on the impacts of climate specifically on coral reef tourism, wild capture fisheries and marine aquaculture.
These are three of the largest ocean-based industries and are the most in need of climate change adaptation.
Ms. Willow Battista of the Environmental Defense Fund, who was one of the paper’s presenters at the side event, said, “There is no question that climate change is going to alter the ocean economy.”
“Climate change is going to alter the ocean’s temperature and chemistry, and these alterations will have impacts on the ocean’s habitats and creature productivity across the globe.
“Every single country in the world will be impacted by climate change, but the impacts will be most significant in the equatorial developing nations, which is predicted to see at least an 85% loss in productivity of ocean industries” Ms Battista added.
These countries and their economies are usually highly dependent on these industries.
However, the good news is that there is still time to act, according to Ms. Battista. The report shows that with rapid climate action and work to implement climate adaptive measures will ensure that these industries not only survive the current changing climate but will see an increase in productivity and yield over the years.
“Pretty much every country in the world can end up better off with respect to yield and profit, compared to a business-as-usual” trajectory. Many countries can even end up better off than they are now if they undertake climate adaptive management.
Research shows that healthy fisheries and healthy ecosystems are the most adaptive to climate change, therefore, implementing best practices in climate adaptive fisheries management should be the primary goal for all countries from now on.
The report also proposes a set of actions to be undertaken to ensure the achievement of climate resilient industries within the blue economy – and that they must be forward thinking, must cooperate across boundaries, and must focus on equity.
The UN Special Envoy on the Ocean and Climate Change, Ambassador Peter Thomson, acknowledged that it is absurd to talk about climate change without talking about the ocean I the same breath.
“The ocean is the main driver of the Earth’s ecosystems, and you cannot have a healthy and thriving ecosystems without a healthy and thriving ocean.”
The 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25) is being held from 2 – 13 December in Madrid, Spain.