A comprehensive High Seas Treaty and extensive marine protected areas are urgently needed in the next decade to preserve life-supporting ocean function. These are just two of eight measures recommended in a new study, to which Torsten Thiele from the Ocean Governance team at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) contributed.
“There is an urgent need for action, because there are signs that the ocean is changing at a faster pace than even recent models predicted,” says Thiele, one of an international group of experts who prepared the study for the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).
These experts highlight the following particularly worrying changes:
“Efforts to rigorously address global heating and limit surface temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2100 have to take priority,” stresses Thiele, “but measures should also be implemented to prepare for a temperature rise of 2–3°C.”
The multi-disciplinary team of marine scientists and experts in law, policy and finance, reviewed and synthesised the findings of 131 peer-reviewed scientific papers on ocean change in order to analyse the changes occurring and the consequences of inaction.
Their assessment warns of diminished marine food-chain production, reduced ability to store carbon, sinking oxygen levels, and the possible release of stored heat back into the atmosphere among the changes, either under way or evidenced as possible, in a global ocean under mass assault from human activity.
The IPSO Viewpoint Paper in Aquatic Conservation identifies priority actions that are needed in unison to avert worst-case scenarios for the ocean and potentially irreversible change. They include the development of a financing mechanism for ocean management and protection.
Other priority actions are:
Senior Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
IASS-Team Ocean Governance
Phone: +49 331 28822 360
Laffoley, D. et al.: Eight urgent fundamental and simultaneous steps needed to restore ocean health, and the consequences for humanity and the planet of inaction or delay, Ipso 07/2019.
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