Climate Impacts to Disproportionately Hurt Tropical Fishers, Farmers

Environmental News from Indo-Pacific: 

  • The majority of 72 coastal communities studied in five countries in the Indo-Pacific region may face significant losses of agricultural and fisheries products — two key food sources — simultaneously under the worst-case climate change projections, a new study shows.
  • These potential losses may be coupled with other drivers of change, such as overfishing or soil erosion, which have already caused declining productivity, the study adds.
  • But if carbon emissions can be effectively managed to a minimum, the study’s authors say, fewer communities would experience losses in both the agriculture and fisheries sectors, indicating the importance of climate mitigation measures.
  • The current global average temperature is 1.1°C (2°F) above pre-industrial times, and climate experts have warned that it could climb to about 3°C (5.4°F) higher by the end of this century if nothing changes.

Coastal communities in the tropics that rely heavily on both agriculture and fisheries are most vulnerable to the losses caused by high global carbon emissions, a new study says.

It looked at coastal communities in five countries within the Indo-Pacific region and found that most may face significant losses of agricultural and fisheries products — two key food sources — simultaneously in the event of the worst-case impacts of climate change. These potential losses may be coupled with other drivers of change, such as overfishing or soil erosion, which have already caused a decline in productivity, according to the study published July 5 in the journal Nature Communications. When looked at separately, the potential losses for the fisheries sector would be greater than for agriculture, the research showed.

But if carbon emissions can be effectively managed to a minimum, the study’s authors said, fewer communities would experience losses in both the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

“Research in these sectors and the policy prescriptions that come from them are happening in isolation, but in reality they are tightly linked,” Joshua E. Cinner, the study’s lead author and a marine researcher at Australia’s James Cook University, told Mongabay in an email. “About 2/3 of the 3,000 households we surveyed across 5 countries engaged in fisheries and agriculture simultaneously.”

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Source: Mongabay

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