Ocean Action Hub

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Why This Year Is Our Last, Best Chance to Save the Ocean

15 Jul 2020 - TIME - "As we restart the economy, this is the chance to reset our goals for a healthy ocean [...] We have a very narrow window of opportunity where we can actually still be effective. Twenty years from now, it will be too late,” says Carlos M. Duarte, a Spanish marine biologist at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

15 Jul 2020 - TIME - For Mick Baron, the giant kelp forests of Tasmania were a playground, a school and a church. The former marine biologist runs a scuba-diving center on the Australian island’s east coast, and rhapsodizes about the wonders of the seaweed’s dense habitats. “Diving in kelp is one of the most amazing underwater experiences you can have,” the 65-year-old says, likening it to flying through the canopy of a terrestrial rain forest. “You won’t find a single empty patch in a kelp forest … From the sponge gardens on the seafloor all the way up to the leaves on the surface, it’s packed with life.”

Or rather, it was. In late 2015, a marine heat wave hit eastern Australia, wiping out a third of the Great Barrier Reef, and the kelp forests Baron had been exploring for most of his life. “We were diving in a nice thick forest in December,” says Baron. “By end of March, it looked like an asphalt driveway.”

Recurring heat waves have prevented kelp and coral from recovering; marine temperatures on Australia’s east coast are on average 2°C higher than a century ago, an increase scientists attribute to rising greenhouse-gas emissions. “The ocean is deceptively fragile,” says Baron. “Two degrees doesn’t sound like much, but not many species can handle that kind of temperature change.”

Baron, a gregarious, bearded and perennially sunburned Australian, introduced generations of divers to Tasmania’s kelp cathedrals. His own grandchildren, he says, will have to learn about them from his YouTube videos. Nearly 95% of eastern Tasmania’s kelp forests are gone, a preview of what is to come for the ocean as a whole. “Tasmania’s kelp forests are the poster child for what climate change means for our oceans,” he says. “What is happening here is what will happen everywhere else in a decade or two.”

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://time.com/5863821/saving-the-oceans/

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The Ocean Is in Trouble and Current Global Commitments Aren’t Enough to Save It

19 Sept 2019 - Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General's special envoy for the ocean expresses his concerns in Time magazine.

19 Sept 2019 - Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General's special envoy for the ocean expresses his concerns in Time magazine.

"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."

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

Resource title

The Ocean Is in Trouble and Current Global Commitments Aren’t Enough to Save It

12 Sept 2019 - TIME - Peter Thomson, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean - The ocean’s health is in trouble. 

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/