Climate Change and the Oceans

Climate Change and the Oceans

Gauging the Legal and Policy Currents in the Asia Pacific and Beyond

Edited by Robin Warner and Clive Schofield

Climate Change and the Oceans investigates the effects of climate change on the ocean environment and its implications for maritime activities, both globally and within the Asia Pacific region.

Chapter 2: Implications of climate change for Asian-Pacific coastal and oceanic environments

Ove Hoegh Guldberg

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, environmental sociology, law - academic, environmental law, maritime law


People in the Asia-Pacific region live in an intimate proximity to coastal and oceanic environments. This relationship has dictated a high degree of dependence on the ecosystem goods and services provided by coastal and oceanic ecosystems. Whether it is coral reefs, mangroves or pelagic fish stocks, Asian-Pacific people draw significant resources in terms of food, livelihoods, cultural value and coastal protection from the marine resources that surround them (Moberg and Rönnbäck 2003; Ronnback 1999). The strong linkages between local climates, coastal ecosystems and human communities underscore the importance of maintaining these relationships while moving towards a sustainable future (Woodward et al. 1998). Broadly speaking, the marine environment is separated into two distinct although linked environments. The first represents coastal environments common to both large and small islands, while the second is composed of the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. The two environments are linked by physical, chemical, biological and economic events and processes. Understanding the nature of these linkages forms an important part of the broader understanding of how Asian-Pacific coastal and oceanic environments are likely to change under the influence of both local (e.g., fishing, unsustainable coastal zone management) and global (e.g., ocean acidifi cation and global warming) pressures (Woodward et al. 1998). In this chapter, the implications of current and future changes to Pacific coastal and oceanic ecosystems is explored, with particular attention to how these changes are likely to influence the economy and well-being of people throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

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