Global climate change and marine policy: Planning for impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability


Miles, E.L. 2002. In D.M. Johnston and A. Sirivivatnanon (eds.), Ocean Governance and Sustainable Development in the Pacific Region, SEAPOL Inter-Regional Conference, March 21-23, 2001. Bangkok, Thailand: Southeast Asian Progr. On Ocean Law, Policy, and Mangmt.


The dominant message of this paper is that marine policy analysts need to enlarge their primary agendas to include the impacts of climate change as a priority issue requiring attention. This message is of considerable importance to South East Asia now and will be for the next two centuries at least. It must be treated in the context of moving towards sustainable use of the oceans and their resources. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Third Assessment Report (TAR, 2001) has documented an average rate of global warming over the last century on the order of 0.6 + 0.2 degrees C (or 1.1 degrees F). This rate of increase has been the largest in the last 1000 years. The

IPCC has also identified the natural and anthropogenic earth-based systems that are either most sensitive or most vulnerable to climate change. In order to plan effectively to increase adaptability and reduce vulnerability of these systems, marine and other environmental policy analysts must decrease the space scale of integrated assessments of the likely impacts of climate change from the global level to the level of large ecological regions. The paper concludes with a detailed example of how this kind of analysis has been done for the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and suggests the applicability of the approach to other regions.