Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases cause the future climate to change. This change in climate affects the Areas of Protection ‘Human Health’ and ‘Ecosystem quality’, the latter is divided into freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.
The emission of greenhouse gases will cause a rise in the earth’s atmospheric temperature which ultimately leads to increased damage to Human health and Ecosystems, this overview focuses on the ecosystems.
A marginal approach for calculating the characterization factors is followed, meaning that the additional impact of a marginal increase in greenhouse gas emissions using today’s situation as the reference state. Impact is measured in potentially disappeared fraction of species for ecosystem quality.
A number of choices have been made for the calculation of the characterization factors, namely:
- The time horizon over which effects are assessed
- Whether fish are representative of the freshwater ecosystem as a whole
Depending on which future scenario one chooses, different effects may be considered certain or uncertain. These are summarized below: