The portents of changing climate: maritime security implications for the South China Sea
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The multi-dimensional impacts of climate change will have potentially destabilizing consequences for many maritime regions. Fisheries scientists have predicted that the migration, depletion or even collapse of major fisheries as a result of rising ocean temperatures and increases in ocean acidity caused by global warming, on top of other factors such as overfishing, will result in declining food security in regions which are heavily dependent on fisheries as a basic source of protein for their populations. Dwindling food and energy resources may provide a catalyst for inter-State and intra-State disputes in the South East Asian region leading to a less predictable and secure maritime environment for trading and military access. The damage and destruction to coral reefs and other marine ecosystems associated with increased ocean acidity is likely to erode the economic security of regional States in South East Asia by removing vital fisheries habitats and sources of tourist industry income. As well as the impacts of climate change itself, marine geo- engineering schemes to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change such as ocean fertilization pose significant risks to the marine environment which may lead to a less productive marine environment in the long term.
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