BONUS BALTICAPP – Well-being from the Baltic Sea – applications combining natural science and economics

Kari Hyytiäinen1, Heini Ahtiainen4, Janne Artell4, Barbara Bauer5, Christine Bertram3, Mateusz Buczyński7, Wiktor Budziński7, Mikolaj Czajkowski7, Kerstin Bly Joyce5, Bo Gustafsson5, Eva Ehrnsten1,5, Tuija Lankia4, Markus Meier8,6, Jürgen Meyerhoff3, Alf Norkko1, Sampo Pihlainen1, Eija Pouta2, Katrin Rehdanz3, Sofia Saraiva9, Matti Sihvonen1, Maciej Tomczak5, Katarzyna Zagórska7, Marianne Zandersen2

 

1 University of Helsinki, Finland, 2 Aarhus University, Denmark, 3 Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany,

4 Natural Resources Institute Finland, Helsinki, 5 Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre, Sweden

6 Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 7 University of Warsaw, Poland

8 Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, 9 University of Lisbon, Portugal

Despite its ecological vulnerability, the Baltic Sea produces and has the potential to sustain a rich array of ecosystem services essential for our wellbeing. In order to design policies to sustain the provision of these services, we need to understand and to quantify the causal chain of interactions that drive the polluting and extractive uses of the sea. BONUS BALTICAPP explores the consequences of alternative global socioeconomic futures (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, SSPs) and climate futures (Representative Concentration Pathways, RCPs) on extractive and consumptive uses of the Baltic Sea, and subsequently, on biogeochemical processes, food web structure and the provision of marine ecosystem services.

 

 

 

Global climate change alters our environment and the types and levels of pollution in a fundamental manner. Increased precipitation and shortened winters will make it more difficult to reach and to maintain the mutually agreed environmental targets (HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, BSAP). In addition, changes in the global and regional socioeconomic drivers such as population size, urbanization, education and life styles tend to have substantial impacts on the mitigation challenge. Some of these drivers, such as technological development, tend to reduce the challenges to mitigate nutrient loading, while some others, such as increased demand for food, tends to increase the challenge. Long-term projections prepared for the combinations of global climate and socioeconomic futures imply that reaching the Good Environmental Status (GES) will remain in the hands and in the capacities of the Baltic Sea countries. However, the level of mitigation effort will be largely determined by the long-term trends of global and regional socioeconomic drivers. Under certain global conditions (e.g. global sustainability scenario SSP1 combined with moderate climate change RCP4.5) the BSAP targets are reached by simply implementing current water policies. The phosphorus reduction target will remain more challenging to reach, and requires additional mitigation effort under all explored global socioeconomic and climate futures. Under an extreme societal future (fossil fueled global scenario, SSP5 combined with high-end climate future RCP8.5), expanding agriculture would create substantial challenges for water protection. Under this scenario, the targeted nutrient load level can be reached only through substantial structural changes and regulation of the agricultural sector, or alternatively, yet unforeseen technology leap in manure handling. The benefits of reaching GES are substantial. The respondents value highly improvements in ecosystem health and species diversity.