Environment

Damage to the World's Oceans May Cost Trillions

The state of the world’s oceans isn’t pretty. Overfishing, pollution and climate change are piling up on one other and could cost trillions.

posted on 04/26/2012
Stephanie Kopf
Scribol Staff

Marine lifePhoto: Phil Manker

It is a truth universally acknowledged that environmental problems are a constant part of our everyday lives and discussions about the planet. The costs for the environment itself are more obvious: environmental problems lead to destruction in said environment. But what of the very real financial costs? Deutsche Welle, the international German broadcaster, reports on the costs of oceanic problems. Because being able to combat environmental problems is also about money.

The Stockholm Environmental Institute has published a new report about the oceans of the world. Various problems that everyone talks about everyday – overfishing, pollution, climate change – are piling up on one other. The damage to coral reefs is another serious problem, as corals are closer to the shore and often get the first hit from chemicals being released into the water.

WhalesPhoto: Ryan Oelke

The Institute warns that problems now have to be looked at in connection with them influencing one other, as opposed to approaching each problem individually. There are cases, though, where singular national policies on combating climate change are coming into effect before general agreements made at a higher level – for example, for all members of the European Union.

The costs of damage to oceans were calculated to potentially run up as high as two trillion dollars if the “no action” policy around the world continues. Lower costs are estimated if action continues, particularly in lowering CO2 emissions. To calculate the ‘price’ of damage to the world’s oceans, the specialists from Stockholm considered figures on fishing, sea-level rise, storm development, tourism level and carbon absorption in oceans. Action is needed, or the costs, real and financial, are only likely to increase.

Stephanie Kopf
Scribol Staff