by The High Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy
The ocean is critically important to our global economy. Collectively, it is estimated that ocean-based industries and activities contribute hundreds of millions of jobs and approximately US$2.5 trillion to the global economy each year, making it the world’s seventh-largest economy when compared with national gross domestic products (GDPs) (Hoegh-Guldberg 2015; IPCC 2019). In addition, the nonmarket services and benefits provided by the ocean are significant and may in fact far exceed the value added by market-based goods and services (Costanza et al. 2014).
Anthropogenic climate change, driven by the exponential increase in emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) since the industrial revolution, will continue to impact
the ocean through a variety of channels. The severity of effects will depend greatly on the extent of warming reached through GHG emissions (IPCC 2018; IPCC
2019). The resulting changes to ocean processes and functioning have broad implications for our global economy that must be taken into account, both
to inform adaptation efforts and motivate urgent mitigation strategies.
In this paper, foccused is on those sectors of the ocean economy that are most in need of adaptation to ensure they can continue to provide valued functions as the climate changes: capture fisheries, marine aquaculture, and marine and coastal tourism. We also briefly discuss other marine-based sectors, some of which generate higher monetary value at a global scale, but either face less significant existential risks from the
changing climate (e.g. shipping), or must be drastically transitioned to avoid worsening the climate crisis (e.g. oil and gas extraction). However, we leave deeper discussion of these important industries and the issues surrounding them to other Blue Papers (Ocean Energy and Mineral Sources and Coastal Development).