Ocean Action Hub

12 Sept 2019 - As you’ve likely heard, the ocean’s health is in trouble. You’re probably aware of overfishing and the harmful practices of fisheries driving a third of the planet’s fish stocks toward extinction, and you surely know about the unconscionable amount of pollution, in particular plastic, that we dump in the ocean. But that’s not the worst of it. The ocean is steadily warming; its oxygen levels are falling; and it is becoming more acidic, making conditions for life below the waves ever harder. Planet-­warming greenhouse gases are the common enemy in that trio of changes. And by now we all know who has been creating those gases.

When you’re a grandfather like me, and you care more about the well-being of your grandchildren than about your own creature comforts, there’s no time for idle behavior. Last year, a report from the U.N.’s Inter­governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed that as global warming moves from 1.5°C above pre­industrial levels to 2°, already observable trends—like the worsening of extreme weather, rising sea levels and loss of ­biodiversity—will be exacerbated. The report also indicated that when we go above 2° warming, we lose the planet’s coral reefs, the vast nurseries that foster life in the ocean. We have no idea how the ocean’s biome will function without them or what that will mean for our eco­system. The predicament is that the planet is still on a ­devastating course toward 3° to 4° global warming.

And yet, the IPCC report notes, it is still possible to stay at 1.5°. The good news is that we have a plan. It’s multi­faceted and requires a radical change of human production and consumption patterns, but it will succeed if people from all walks of life get behind it.

On a global level, we must exercise fidelity to the Paris Agreement; to the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Goal 14 (conservation and ­sustainable use of the ocean’s resources); and to the broad mosaic of multilateral agreements supporting them. Beyond that, it is vital that we establish new law for marine bio­diversity beyond national jurisdictions. There is already a conference under way at the U.N. working on this issue, as there is a growing scientific consensus that we need to move toward a goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

CONTINUE READING: https://time.com/5669048/ocean-warming-climate-change/

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Peter Thomson