Ocean Adaptation

Encyclopedia of Environmental Law: Climate Change Law 567-578 (Edward Elgar 2016)

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 116

12 Pages Posted: 2 May 2015 Last revised: 29 Dec 2016

Date Written: April 11, 2016

Abstract

The world’s oceans are both one of the primary mediators of climate change and one of the most important sources of climate change mitigation, constituting the world’s largest carbon sink. However, the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases (particularly carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere are increasing ocean water temperatures, altering normal marine current patterns, and lowering the pH of seawater, a phenomenon known popularly as ocean acidification. These primary impacts, in turn, are causing a number of additional changes of growing importance to humans — sea level rise; shifting marine food webs and ocean fisheries; the increasing destruction of important marine ecosystems such as coral reefs; changing maritime transportation patterns and needs; and the opening of the Arctic Ocean. While the laws governing oceans are both complex and fragmented, ocean law and policy are not yet effectively coping with climate change at any scale, and a number of important reforms are required.

Keywords: ocean, climate change, adaptation, sea level rise, marine fisheries, UNCLOS

Suggested Citation

Craig, Robin Kundis, Ocean Adaptation (April 11, 2016). Encyclopedia of Environmental Law: Climate Change Law 567-578 (Edward Elgar 2016), University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 116, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2600644 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2600644

Robin Kundis Craig (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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