12 September 2015
Just arrived from Sweden, Tara and her crew moored in the Marina of West India Docks, within a stone’s throw of the famous Tower Bridge in London.
From 9 to 14 September, docked in the middle of one of the largest European megacities, Tara aims at raising awareness among the greatest number of people about the importance of preserving the ocean. This outreach program is in preparation for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change, also called COP 21. But what does “COP 21” mean and what are the challenges of this conference?
The next COP, in other words “Conference of the Parties”, will take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015. It will bring together the 195 signatory nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as NGOs, associations, companies and groups of scientists. This conference will be the 21st since its inception in 1995.
Its objective: reaching an agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, mitigate the impact of anthropogenic activities, enable populations to adapt to climate change, best encourage and support northern as well as southern countries during the energy transition. The most recent IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), published in November, is alarming. It predicts an increase in temperature between 0.3 and 4.8° C by the year 2100. The Paris summit meeting is a real opportunity to set targets to limit anthropogenic impact on the environment and the Ocean. Before giving the Ocean a loud and clear voice in Paris and to remind everyone, especially decision-makers, about the ocean’s key role in the climate system, Tara’s stopover in London is a major event on her way to the COP21.
Sylvie Bermann, Ambassador of France in London, officially welcomed the schooner on the docks of her adopted city. “This meeting in London is important. It’s one of Tara’s last stopovers before the COP21 but, most of all, it’s the symbol of a very rich scientific cooperation between the United Kingdom and France. A financial collaboration as well, not only from the governments, but also from businesses and many institutions.”
If this London stopover is a link between the countries that will gather at the COP 21, the French Embassy is also mobilizing the general public around the key event of this year. “We’ve organized a series of conferences called “Road to Paris”. The conferences will address various aspects of climate change to raise awareness among the general public, students and also in the business world.” said Sylvie Bermann. She then explained that England pays particular attention to the conservation of its surrounding marine ecosystem. “The United Kingdom is not only concerned but has high-level laboratories conducting scientific research. Like France, England crosses the seas with the purpose of protecting the oceans. I am convinced that cooperation between the different nations is crucial in research.”
Asked about what concerns her the most in the relationship between the ocean and climate, she responds: “What strikes me is the importance of plankton and the potential negative impact of global warming. The marine ecosystem is very important for life on Earth as demonstrated by the scientific results of Tara’s expeditions. The ocean really deserves to be taken into account”.
Interview by Pauline Plante.
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