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Economic Impacts of Ocean Acidification: A Meta-Analysis

Paper Number: 2020-02

Document Date: 10/2020

Author(s):  Christopher Moore and Jasmine Fuller

Subject Area(s): Economic Damages/Benefits, Marine/Coastal Zone Resources, Climate Change

JEL Classification: Q51

Keywords: Ocean acidification, climate change, meta-analysis, marine ecosystem services

Abstract: This paper presents the first comprehensive review and synthesis of studies that forecast economic impacts of ocean acidification.  The changes in seawater chemistry resulting from increased carbon dioxide emissions, collectively known as ocean acidification, will have detrimental impacts to marine ecosystem services.  Those services include wild capture fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, shoreline protection, and others.  The current literature valuing expected impacts to those services is rather thin and tends to focus on mollusk harvesting and aquaculture.  Despite the paucity of studies, we divide all relevant estimates into seven additively separable economic sectors to provide the first aggregate estimate of economic damages from ocean acidification at the end of this century.  We perform non-parametric bootstrap to characterize the distribution of estimates within each sector and the aggregation across sectors.  We also perform meta-regressions to explore whether estimates provided by these studies are generally consistent with expectations based on ocean chemistry and economic theory.  We find a global average of per capita annual losses in the year 2100 between $47 and $58 and we find strong evidence that estimates are consistent with expectations given future emissions and socio-economic scenarios that underlie the original studies.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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