Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A Rescue Plan for the Ocean


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:

  • Ocean warming is accelerating, heating up 40 per cent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago;
  • Upper-ocean warming is changing the global wave climate, making waves stronger;
  • There are signs that the ocean might be starting to release some of that stored thermal energy, which could contribute to significant global temperature increases in the coming years;
  • Declining oxygen levels in the ocean, combined with chemical pollutants, is rendering vast areas uninhabitable;
  • Arctic and Antarctic ice is melting faster than scientists anticipated, and the subsequent sea-level rise has catastrophic consequences for cities around the world.

“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:

  • Securing a robust, comprehensive High Seas Treaty with a Conference of Parties and a Scientific Committee and reforming voting rights on bodies such as the International Seabed Authority to stop vested interests undermining the precautionary approach;
  • Enforcing existing standards for effective marine protected areas (MPAs) – especially for fully protected marine reserves – and extending full protection to at least 30% of the ocean, while also ensuring effective management of 100% of the rest of the ocean;
  • Putting an end to overfishing and destructive practices, including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing;
  • Radically reducing marine water pollution, including nitrogen fertilisers and sewage as well as plastics;
  • Taking a ‘precautionary pause’ before any deep-sea mining begins in order to gather sufficient knowledge and enable sustainable management of those activities;
  • Scaling up scientific research on the ocean and increasing the transparency and accessibility of ocean data from all sources (i.e. science, government, industry). Increasing our understanding of heat absorption and heat release from the sea to the atmosphere should be a research priority. The UN Decade of Ocean Science beginning in 2021 is a key opportunity to achieve this step change.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Torsten Thiele
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.

Weitere Informationen:

Sabine Letz | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms
17.09.2019 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Study: We need more realistic experiments on the impact of climate change on ecosystems
16.09.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Stevens team closes in on 'holy grail' of room temperature quantum computing chips

Photons interact on chip-based system with unprecedented efficiency

To process information, photons must interact. However, these tiny packets of light want nothing to do with each other, each passing by without altering the...

Im Focus: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

AI for Laser Technology Conference: optimizing the use of lasers with artificial intelligence

29.08.2019 | Event News

Latest News

UMD-led study captures six galaxies undergoing sudden, dramatic transitions

19.09.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Study points to new drug target in fight against cancer

19.09.2019 | Health and Medicine

New tool improves beekeepers' overwintering odds and bottom line

19.09.2019 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>