Socioeconomic > Florida Keys

Recreation-Tourism | Commercial Fishing | Marine Zoning/Marine Reserves
Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions | Climate Change

Socioeconomic Research & Monitoring Program for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary – Climate Change

Origin of Project

In 2004, Ove and Hans Hoegh-Guldberg presented a study of the "Biological, Economic, and Social Impacts of Climate Change on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia" at the 10th Annual Coral Reef Symposium in Okinawa, Japan. Ove is Professor of Marine Studies and Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Hans has specialized in applied cultural economics for over 25 years and has added scenario planning and environmental economics to his skill base since 1998.

The US Coral Reef Task Force recommended that a similar study be done in the Florida Keys. In FY 2005, NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) funded a scoping effort by Hans to see if the study framework could be adapted to the Florida Keys. In FY 2007 and 2008, CRCP funded the study in the Florida Keys. The study was included in the Socioeconomic Research and Monitoring Program for the FKNMS and portions of the study were integrated into the 12-year replication of the study on recreation-tourism.

Socioeconomic Effects of Climate Change in the Florida Keys:  Scoping the feasibility to conduct a subsequent two-year research program (390K, 7 pages)

Project Goal

Provide alternative estimates, using scenario-planning techniques, of the medium- and long-term socioeconomic effects that may arise from climate change in the Florida Keys.


  1. Develop four scenarios ranging from global to local (Florida Keys) showing pathways through the 21st century. Base the global scenarios on the 2000 Special Report on Emissions Scenarios by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), updated to incorporate known developments since 2000. Derive US-wide scenarios compatible with each of the four scenarios. Develop local (Florida Keys) scenarios through the collection of economic, demographic, scientific, environmental and other relevant data and through a series of scenario-planning workshops in the Florida Keys (which were held in June 2008).
  2. Estimate market and non-market economic use values from surveys of residents and visitors of Monroe County/Florida Keys undertaking recreation-tourist uses of the coral reefs, as part of the initial input into each of the four scenario stories. This effort was not completed due to inadequate data and methodological limitations, but the report contains a discussion of how such an analysis might succeed in future.
  3. Based on each scenario, provide information to support adaptive management by both coral reef managers and local stakeholders. This information will include combinations of global strategies (centered on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions) and local strategies (water quality protection, education/outreach/enforcement, no-take areas, mooring buoys/channel markers, reef restoration, and other identified strategies).
  4. Develop policy recommendations basically to avoid worst-case scenarios by directing policies towards more environmentally sustainable conditions associated with other scenarios.


All the reports commissioned by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, by Australian economist, Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, were completed in 2010. All the reports have received extensive peer review.

The links below provide various levels of detail: an executive summary; nine short "fact sheets"; the main report; and four global background papers focusing on the increasing severity of climate and other global change, and the shortage of appropriate policies. All views and policy recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by NOAA.

Executive Summary (820K, 24 pages)

This document is for the general public and condenses the main report with a brief description of what scenario analysis is and how it can be used; a brief description of each of the four scenarios; the results of each scenario both globally and in the Florida Keys; and policy/management recommendations. The recommendations are not official NOAA positions, but those offered by the author.

Fact Sheets

The purpose of these two-to-three page stories is to provide another easily accessible description for general use and as aide mémoires for all readers. They can be supplemented by other topics as the need arises. Click here for a list of the Fact Sheets.

  1. Scenario planning and the IPCC (340K, 3 pages)
  2. The aggravated threat of global climate change (345K, 3 pages)
  3. The physical vulnerability of the Florida Keys (411K, 3 pages)
  4. Structural change in the Florida Keys economy (379K, 3 pages)
  5. The difficulty of valuing complex ecosystems (367K, 3 pages)
  6. Scenarios for the Keys (412K, 3 pages)
  7. Policy recommendations (270K, 3 pages)
  8. Limits to growth and failures of economic policy (358K, 4 pages)
  9. Appropriate technologies for saving the planet (416K, 3 pages)

Main Report

Chapter 1 contains a synopsis of the report, followed by a chapter summarizing the influence of global change (from the four background papers). National and regional US perspectives are outlined in Chapter 3 before zooming in on the Florida Keys in Chapter 4. Chapters 5 and 6 describe biophysical and socioeconomic indicators, respectively. Chapter 7 outlines the four scenarios from global to local level including graphs of the estimated paths from 2010 to 2100. Chapter 8 contains policy recommendations.

The main report was substantially finished in July 2010. Some additions were made during the course of writing the Executive Summary and the Fact Sheets. Users of the original document please click on the file below for significant changes.

Appendix 1 (Key Issues for the Florida Keys) is based on findings from a series of community workshops attended by local resource managers and community leaders. In addition to key issues facing the Keys, on-going efforts to address the issues are discussed.

Appendix 2 (Scenario Planning Workshops) summarizes the workshop transcripts. The issues discussed provide local perspectives on climate change and the perceptions of what the local community thinks can be done locally to address mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Background papers

The four documents below have a global scope, setting the stage for the Florida Keys in the main report.

  • Changing Global Scenarios (1.1 MB, 91 pages) Describes new information used to update the four IPCC global scenarios, focused on the increasing urgency of dealing with global climate change.

  • Limits to Economic Growth (444K, 24 pages) Provides best-case, "most likely", and worst-case impacts of warming on economic growth measured in GDP, for each of the global scenarios. Some cases imply global economic decline from the second half of the century in the absence of policy change.

  • The Changing Economic Paradigm (1.5 MB, 60 pages) Follows up on the previous background paper and reviews the competing economic theories as they relate to climate change and general macroeconomic policy, and discusses recent trends in interdisciplinary influences on economic theory.

  • Technology and Climate Change (1.4 MB, 94 pages) Reviews existing and emerging technologies that will have influence on climate change.

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