What may the future hold for the Baltic Sea?

Thought experiments about the long-term global developments may help at long-term planning of environmental protection. This research article explores the consequences of plausible global futures on the drivers of eutrophication, fisheries and marine traffic in the Baltic Sea region.

Reaching the good environmental state of the Baltic Sea is in the hands of governments and people that share its coastline. However, in the long run, global socioeconomic trends determine how difficult it will be to control pollution and extractive uses of a regional sea at sustainable levels. Population growth, urbanization, changes in dietary preferences, economic growth, and technical progress are amongst the factors that drive agriculture, fisheries, waste water treatment, shipping and many other sectors relevant for the environmental state of the Baltic Sea.   

This research article presents five narratives for future development in the Baltic region. The narratives are made consistent with the global Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) applied widely in climate research. The extended SSP narratives for the Baltic Sea region can be combined with climate pathways and used as alternative baseline (or business-as-usual) scenarios to assess the policy effort needed to reach the Good Environmental Status of the Baltic Sea.

This article is the result of a collaboration between research projects that make part of the BONUS research programme (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and national funding agencies: BONUS BALTICAPP, BONUS SOIL2SEA, BONUS SHEBA, and BONUS GOHERR.

Reference: Zandersen, M., Hyytiäinen, K., Meier, H.E.M, Tomczak, M.T., Bauer, B., Haapasaari, P., Olesen, J.E.O., Gustafsson, B.G., Refsgaard, J.C., Fridell, E., Pihlainen, S., Le Tissier, M.D.A., Kosenius, A.K, Van Vuuren, D.P. 2019. Shared socio-economic pathways extended for the Baltic Sea: exploring long-term environmental problems. Regional Environmental Change https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-018-1453-0

The open-access article can downloaded:  https://rdcu.be/bh8jA