Why an “Ocean and Climate” platform ?
The ocean is a key element of the global climate system, but so far it has been relatively absent from discussions on climate change. For all of us participating in the Ocean and Climate Platform, it is essential to include the ocean among the issues and challenges discussed in the context of climate negociations.
Covering 71 % of the globe, the world ocean is a complex ecosystem that provides essential services for the maintenance of life on Earth. More than 25 % of the CO2 emitted annually by humans into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, and it is also the largest net supplier of oxygen in the world, playing an equally important role as the forests.
The ocean is therefore the principle “lung” of the planet and is at the center of the global climate system.
Although the ocean continues to limit global warming, for several decades the pressure of human beings — principally CO2 emissions, over-exploitation of resources and pollution have degraded marine ecosystems. The role of the ocean in regulating the climate is likely to be disrupted.
It is therefore urgent to maintain the functional quality of marine ecosystems and restore those that are becoming degraded.
The Ocean and Climate Platform was established from an alliance of non-governmental organizations and research institutes, with support from the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. Today the Platform includes scientific organizations, universities, research institutions, non-profit associations, foundations, science centers, public institutions and business organizations, all acting to bring the ocean to the forefront in climate discussions.
In December 2015 in Paris the 21st United Nations Climate Conference will take place. This conference will establish the roadmap that will enable the international community to meet the challenges of climate change in the coming years. The Ocean and Climate Platform aims to :
• INTEGRATE THE OCEAN IN THE DEBATE ON CLIMATE, AND CONTRIBUTE TO SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATIONS FOR AN AMBITIOUS AGREEMENT AT THE COP21
The Paris Agreement must take into account the ocean and its role in the climate to best confront the major climate challenges in the years to come.
• INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE OCEAN IN THE GLOBAL CLIMATE SYSTEM
Advancing the general public’s knowledge about the links between the climate with ocean and coastal areas will contribute to a better understanding and consideration of the impacts of climate change on the marine environment.
• PROMOTE SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE LINKS BETWEEN OCEAN AND CLIMATE
The links between ocean and climate are gradually becoming better defined, but the needs for knowledge and research are still very important. Having a set of indicators will allow us to better monitor the evolution of the ocean within the climate system.
• INFORM AND INSTRUCT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE POLICY MAKERS ON OCEAN AND CLIMATE ISSUES
Policy makers at all levels – heads of state, representatives of international organizations and national governments, private actors – have too little knowledge about the role of the ocean in climate. The issues related to the impacts of climate change on marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the coast (where nearly 80 % of the world population will concentrate in 2050) must be clearly identified.