We analyzed the potential physical and economic impacts of climate change on freshwater fisheries and coral reefs in the United States, examining a reference case and two policy scenarios that limit global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We modeled shifts in suitable habitat for three freshwater fish guilds and changes in coral reef cover for three regions. We estimated resulting economic impacts from projected changes in recreational fishing and changes in recreational use of coral reefs. In general, coldwater fisheries are projected to be replaced by less desirable fisheries over the 21st century, but these impacts are reduced under the GHG mitigation scenarios. Similarly, coral cover is projected to decline over the 21st century primarily due to multiple bleaching events, but the GHG mitigation scenarios delay these declines in Hawaii (but not in South Florida or Puerto Rico). Using a benefit-transfer approach, we estimated that global policies limiting GHG emissions would provide economic benefits in the range of $10–28 billion over the 21st century through maintaining higher values for recreational services for all freshwater fisheries and coral reefs, compared to the reference scenario. These economic values are a subset of the total economic and societal benefits associated with avoiding projected future declines in freshwater fisheries and coral reef cover due to unmitigated climate change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Atmospheric Science