Reframing Ocean Acidification: Addressing an emergent governance problem under existing multilateral environmental agreements
AffiliationResource Management and Geography
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Ellycia Renee Harrould-Kolieb
Ocean acidification is increasingly recognized as a potentially devastating threat to marine ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Despite this, no existing multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) explicitly requires a response to it and the issue remains largely unaddressed in international environmental law and policy. Many scholars and practitioners have sought to address ocean acidification under existing agreements, largely via proposals for treaty amendments or the conclusion of new legal instruments such as implementing agreements or protocols. Implementation of these proposals has been limited. The thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the possible MEA governance of ocean acidification. This is done by analysing existing treaty texts through alternative problem frames (treaty interpretation) and comparing their capacity to respond to ocean acidification against an idealized version of ocean acidification governance (gap-analysis). This thesis contends that the current framing of ocean acidification as a CO2 problem concurrent to climate change has resulted in the problem being regarded as predominantly outside the mandates of most MEAs, thereby narrowing the scope of responses available and creating significant gaps in the global governance architecture for ocean acidification. It argues that the utilization of alternative problem frames can situate the issue more effectively within existing MEA mandates, thereby opening up response options without the need for the development of new legal instruments.
Keywordsocean acidification; ocean governance; framing; multilateral environmental agreements; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
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