How healthy is the human-ocean system?

Rickels, Wilfried, Quaas, Martin and Visbeck, Martin (2014) How healthy is the human-ocean system? Environmental Research Letters, 9 (4). 044013. DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/9/4/044013.

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Halpern et al (2012 An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean Nature 488 11397)propose a detailed measure of the state of the human-ocean system against ten societal goals. They devote less attention to the normative foundation of the index, which is crucial for assessing the overall health of the human-ocean system, notably when it comes to aggregation of potentially conflicting goals. Social choice theory provides several possible functional forms for assessing the compound change in various goals. The one chosen by Halpern et al, the arithmetical mean, is not
only a specific but also an extreme case. It implicitly allows for unlimited substitution. A one-unit reduction in one goal can be fully offset by a one-unit increase in another with the same weighting factor. For that reason, the current index satisfies an extremely weak sustainability concept. We show that the results in Halpern et al are not robust when one adopts a strong sustainability concept. The
overall health score of the ocean decreases, the ranking of the various coastal states changes substantially, and the assessment of sustainable development needs to be partially reversed.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: human-ocean system, sustainable development, strong and weak sustainability
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R05
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R02
Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R01
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/4/044013
ISSN: 1748-9326
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 13 May 2014 07:48
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2017 07:14

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