Thursday, September 6

The link between fish and climate change

HSBC released a report on climate change. I quote the summary

This past week, two publications highlighted the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate change on oceans and marine life. We believe the related consequences for Asian economies will serve to increase pressure on governments to reduce emissions.
CSIRO published its 2012 report card on Marine Climate Change in Australia and Nature Climate Change a paper which called on adaptation strategies for ocean conservation. Oceans absorb around one-quarter of all the CO2 that we emit resulting in rising surface acidity levels, which in turn affect marine life. Moreover, the consequences of CO2 also include warmer water (oxygen depletion) for certain fish, as well as changing currents, which drive fish towards cooler waters. We think the pressure on governments to curb emissions will only rise as the impact of CO2 on oceans becomes more recognised.
Globally, the production and consumption of fish and aquaculture have been rising (Chart 1) and this sector sustains the livelihoods of around 10% of the global population. Ocean acidification coupled with warming water - both consequences of CO2 emissions -disrupt marine life, impacting livelihoods and economies. Asian economies are most exposed to the fisheries and aquaculture sector, as Asia accounts for the top six producers of aquaculture (Chart 2) and 87% of all persons employed in the sector globally.
Fish provide 15-20% of animal protein for around half of the world's population. As marine life is disrupted by, amongst many factors, CO2 emissions, diets may turn to more meat for appropriate protein intake. Recent data from Japan shows that the consumption of meat and fish has been converging (Chart 3), suggesting that less fish means more meat. This switch has the potential to further exacerbate existing water scarcity problems in many Asian countries since meat requires more water to produce. In our view, the pressure on Asian governments to reduce emissions is only going to grow.

I guess the countries who have a well organised aqua culture and export industry will do something about it, but for countries where there is no organisation such as India, it wouldn't matter. Unlike pretty much most countries who have recognised the issue of climate change, need for sustainability and carbon capture, India is blissfully proceeding down the track of severe environmental degradation. And the fault directly lies with the citizenry second and the government first.

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