Paris Agreement will not be concluded without urgent action on oceans
Researchers at Plymouth University have played a key role in new research highlighting how action to tackle climate change and achieve the Paris Agreement will only succeed if the ocean is fully taken into account.
The study, published in the journal Aquatic conservation, is addressed directly to executives attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
It was prepared by the International State of the Ocean Program (IPSO), a collaboration of scientists including professor of marine biology Jason Hall-Spencer and professor of oceanography Chris Reid.
In their report, the researchers say the role of the ocean in mitigating and exacerbating climate change is understood by scientists but largely ignored by politicians.
They point out that the ocean bears the heaviest burden in terms of climate change mitigation, absorbing more than 90 percent of the excess heat produced by global warming, compared to only about 3 percent absorbed by the earth.
It is also the largest carbon sink on Earth, causing damaging acidification of the oceans that erodes the ocean’s ability to function and creates feedback loops that can exacerbate climate change.
Calling on world leaders to take urgent action to protect the ocean, lead author Professor Dan Laffoley said:
“There is simply no time to waste. The changes we have already made to the ocean system will last for centuries and worsen the climate crisis. Anything we can do now to help the ocean withstand climate assault It will help us in turn. Protecting the oceans is a matter of human survival. “
The report is the latest prepared by IPSO with the aim of inspiring international collaboration and action to protect the ocean.
Professor Hall-Spencer, one of the world’s foremost experts on the impacts of ocean acidification, fishing and warming, is one of 16 scientists advising IPSO. He said:
“Warming oceans fuel tropical cyclones and hurricanes, intensifying the water cycle, resulting in increasingly intense precipitation, stronger winds and larger storms. This in turn increases the number of natural disasters, their intensity and their impact on humanity. Addressing the climate emergency is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as this will slow the rate of ocean warming, oxygen loss and ocean acidification. Urgent action is also needed to rebuild the resilience of marine life with significant reductions in damaging practices such as whaling, commercial trawling, overfishing and sewage pollution. “
Professor Reid is also a member of the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey group of the Marine Biological Association and is part of the core group that advises IPSO. He added:
“In the roughly three decades since 1986, the heat content of the ocean has accelerated, increasing eight times faster than the previous three decades. The consequences of this rapid change have been enormous, with more heat waves on land and in the ocean, forest fires, melting permafrost and ice, and higher water content in the atmosphere leading to intense flooding on all continents of the world. Sea level is also rising rapidly as a result expansion due to higher temperatures and increasing inputs from melting ice.
“What all of this shows is that we can no longer forget the ocean, its ecosystems and carbon storage systems; they are essential to human survival and in need of international protection and restoration. increased. ”
Scientists join call for major shift in understanding to protect the ocean
Dan Laffoley et al, The Forgotten Ocean: Why COP26 must call for much greater ambition and urgency to deal with changing oceans, Aquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / aqc.3751
Provided by the University of Plymouth
Quote: Study: The Paris Agreement will not be concluded without urgent action on the oceans (2021, 4 November) retrieved on 4 November 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11-paris-agreement-urgent -ocean-action.html
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