Beyond the obvious peril the Earth faces from the effects of climate change and global warming, the former will likely have a disproportionate effect on countries and individuals with less money.
Climate change will chase the fish from where they’re are needed most
It’s seemingly quite easy for many to forget that there are millions of people who require fishing and agricultural to survive. Entire nations, especially island nations, rely on the wealth of food and natural resources the oceans provide them each day, week, and month.
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In a new study out of Rutgers University and others, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, climate change isn’t a simple matter of biology and ecology but an economic issue for many.
“What we find is that natural resources like fish are being pushed around by climate change, and that changes who gets access to them,” Malin Pinsky, who participated in the research, said in a press release that was written to accompany the group’s findings.
When fish move to the poles, those that can afford to will join them. Additionally, continents, countries, and even communities with more stringent, conservation-oriented natural resource management will benefit from them while the climate changes but these policies are less likely to exist in poorer areas of the world.
Pinsky’s work included data that studied fish migration while his colleague, the economist Eli Fenichel, wrote a formula that used this data to understand the relationship between wealth and fish migration.
“We tend to think of climate change as just a problem of physics and biology,” Pinsky said. “But people react to climate change as well, and at the moment we don’t have a good understanding for the impacts of human behavior on natural resources affected by climate change.”
The two plan to continue their work with a human angle
The study is one of several currently supported by a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In addition to Rutgers University, the study included researchers from Princeton, Yale, and Arizona State universities.
“Climate change is often described as the greatest environmental challenge of our time,” the researchers write. “In addition, a changing climate can relocate natural capital, change the values of all forms of capital and lead to mass redistribution of wealth.”
The wealth of which they write is “inclusive wealth” and is largely comprised of infrastructure, health, education and natural resources in addition to aggregate capital numbers.
Clearly, you can see how “inclusive wealth” in an island nation will be hammered by increased fish migration.
Climate change and global warming is clearly a worldwide problem and the Paris agreement reached in December 2015 was really a marvel in how it brought 195 signatory nations to the table despite certain countries, I won’t mention names, disproportionately contributing to the factors that cause climate change, namely carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
While those countries will also pay the most they will likely sacrifice the least given the individual and collective wealth of their nations. Tonga, Fiji, and many others don’t have a horse in the fossil fuel reduction race, but they have millions of fish leaving their waters.
If climate change isn’t slowed it will be a catastrophe for all people on this planet, it will just affect a number who rely on the oceans’ wealth faster.