22 Nations Back Initiative on Ocean Environment


By MarEx 2015-12-14 19:00:55

The Global Ocean Commission has announced that 22 nations have joined as signatories to its “Because the Ocean” campaign, which seeks to act on climate change's effects on the seas.

On the sidelines of the COP21 Conference in Paris, the commission held a high-level event to bring together interested parties, in partnership with the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry, the French Ministry of Ecology, and Tara Expeditions, among others.

“By absorbing 90% of the excess heat and 25% of the carbon we produce, the ocean has been and continues to shield us from far more intense and accelerated climate change impacts, we must cherish and protect the ocean. Because the ocean will – today and every day – extract 4 kg of CO2 per person on the planet from our atmosphere, we must care for the blue part of our planet”, said Jose Maria Figueres, Co-Chair of the commission.

The declaration is brief and simple, at less than a third of a page. It calls for:

1) A special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the ocean,
2) A UN conference on Ocean and Seas to establish a regular review and benchmarking of SDG 14, the UN Ocean Sustainable Development Goal, and
3) The development of an ocean action plan under the UNFCCC.

Signatory nations include Aruba, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Palau, Senegal, Seychelles, Spain, and Sweden.

Climate scientists and oceanographers have warned of the increasing risks to ocean ecology due to climate change, and especially in the event of an average increase of over 2 degrees Celcius. High latitudes are predicted to experience high levels of ocean acidification (due to dissolved CO2), leading to higher mortality for some species; in specific areas, mass die-offs of benthic species, including economically important fish stocks, are predicted to increase; coral bleaching events are expected to become more frequent.

The Global Ocean Commission is a non-profit organization formed in partnership with the University of Oxford’s Somerville College and the Pew Charitable Trusts.