Climate change and marine fisheries: Least developed countries top global index of vulnerability

Blasiak, Robert, Spijkers, Jessica, Tokunaga, Kanae, Pittman, Jeremy, Yagi, Nobuyuki and Osterblom, Henrik, (2017). Climate change and marine fisheries: Least developed countries top global index of vulnerability. PLOS ONE, 12(6), 1-15

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Blasiak, Robert
    Spijkers, Jessica
    Tokunaga, Kanae
    Pittman, Jeremy
    Yagi, Nobuyuki
    Osterblom, Henrik
    Title Climate change and marine fisheries: Least developed countries top global index of vulnerability
    Appearing in PLOS ONE
    Volume 12
    Issue No. 6
    Publication Date 2017-06-20
    Place of Publication Online
    Publisher PLOS
    Start page 1
    End page 15
    Language eng
    Abstract Future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries have the potential to negatively influence a wide range of socio-economic factors, including food security, livelihoods and public health, and even to reshape development trajectories and spark transboundary conflict. Yet there is considerable variability in the vulnerability of countries around the world to these effects. We calculate a vulnerability index of 147 countries by drawing on the most recent data related to the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries. Building on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change framework for vulnerability, we first construct aggregate indices for exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity using 12 primary variables. Seven out of the ten most vulnerable countries on the resulting index are Small Island Developing States, and the top quartile of the index includes countries located in Africa (17), Asia (7), North America and the Caribbean (4) and Oceania (8). More than 87% of least developed countries are found within the top half of the vulnerability index, while the bottom half includes all but one of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member states. This is primarily due to the tremendous variation in countries’ adaptive capacity, as no such trends are evident from the exposure or sensitivity indices. A negative correlation exists between vulnerability and per capita carbon emissions, and the clustering of states at different levels of development across the vulnerability index suggests growing barriers to meeting global commitments to reducing inequality, promoting human well-being and ensuring sustainable cities and communities. The index provides a useful tool for prioritizing the allocation of climate finance, as well as activities aimed at capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2017
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0179632
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