The report "The Baltic Sea - Our Common Treasure. Economics of Saving the Sea" shows that people in countries around the Baltic Sea attach a great value to the Sea and are willing to pay 3 800 million Euros per year to improve the Baltic Sea environment. This exceeds the costs by 1 000 – 1 500 million Euros annually.
BalticSTERN is the first large-scale study to include all nine Baltic Sea countries, estimating the benefits and costs of reducing eutrophication according to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
Today the results from 3 years of BalticSTERN research are presented in the final report "The Baltic Sea - Our Common Treasure. Economics of Saving the Sea (pdf, 7.7 MB)" aimed at decision makers.
This final report, written by the BalticSTERN Secretariat and partners, such as the Baltic Nest Institute, in the research network, gives an overview and presents main result, showing that saving the Baltic Sea would lead to large welfare gains.
The most important results are summarized i "The Baltic Sea - Our Common Treasure. Economics of Saving the Sea. Executive summary" (pdf, 11.4 MB).
People are willing to pay for a healthier Baltic Sea
The report concludes that:
* A majority of the people living in countries around the Baltic Sea is willing to pay for a healthier marine ecosystem.
* Aggregated to the whole population in the region people are willing to pay 3800 million Euros annually.
* The cost of reaching the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) targets amounts to 2300 — 2 800 million Euros annually, depending on allocation of measures.
* Thus benefits exceed costs for reaching the BSAP by 1000 — 1500 million Euros annually.
Read the press release here (pdf, 1 MB)
The Baltic Sea is our common treasure
It is not surprising that citizens in the Baltic Sea region attach high values to an improved health of the Sea. More than 80 per cent of the people in the Baltic Sea region have visited the Sea for leisure activities, such as walking along the seashore, swimming or boating.
Every second person in the region has experienced the effects of eutrophication, mostly in the form of water turbidity and algae blooms. In addition, across all countries people value a healthier Baltic Sea as a whole and not only their local areas.
"The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world, surrounded by some of the richest countries. We now have the scientific results, wide public support and policies in place. There are no longer any excuses for failing to take strong measures and save the Baltic Sea", says Johan Rockström, Chairman of the BalticSTERN’s Steering Group and Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Reductions agreed among all Baltic Sea countries
The Baltic Sea Action Plan is an agreement within HELCOM (the Helsinki Commission) where all nine Baltic Sea countries have committed to reduce their emissions of nutrients in order to achieve a good status of the Sea.
The BSAP targets can be reached through measures reducing the nutrient loads from agriculture and wastewater, such as reduced fertilization and increased abatement at wastewater treatment plants.
The focus of the BalticSTERN research during 2009-2012 has been on eutrophication, but case studies on fish and fishery, oil spills and invasive species have also been undertaken and are discussed in a wider perspective in the report.
Supplementing this final report are several Background Papers (BG Paper), exploring the policy and research questions, as well as methods and results in more detail. These can be downloaded on the BalticSTERN website.
BalticSTERN (Systems Tools and Ecological-economic evaluation — a Research
Network) is an international research network with partners in all countries around the Baltic Sea. The network has combined ecological and economic models to make cost-benefit analysis and identify cost-effective measures to improve the environmental state of the Baltic Sea.