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 on June 10th 2014 during the World Ocean day.
It is the international Ocean and Climate think tank, gathering over 70 organizations for the purpose of highlighting scientific expertise and supporting ocean and climate issues advocacy before politicians, decision-makers and the general public.
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.
During COP21, the Ocean & Climate Platform emphasized the importance of « a healthy ocean, a protected climate ». It is important to show how the ocean is affected by climate change, and more importantly to show that “the ocean is part of the solution” against climate change.
After the signature of the Paris Agreement, the platform has decided to pursue its action, in the field of scientific knowledge, nature based solutions, maritime transport and mobilization based on solid scientific ground and its advocacy for the integration of the ocean in the climate regime. The Platform has chosen to focus on 4 lines and to develop different topics in relation to economic solutions and ecosystem solutions in order to incorporate them into the Paris Agreement.
- The first central line of the Platform refers to the international reinforcement of the Scientific Committee and network for the production and dissemination of solution knowledge for climate. These solutions will feed the advocacy thematic, define the ocean and climate science needs and feed the argument for an ocean report with the IPCC.
- The second line identified within the economic solutions is the development of maritime transportation involved in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
- The third line focuses on ecosystems resilience issues regarding climate change, including the key role of marine protected areas (MPAs).
- The fourth line is that of citizens and youth mobilization regarding June 8th World Ocean Day and mobilization days for Ocean and Climate issues (Ocean for Climate Days) during the Conferences of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This mobilization focuses on advocacy toward public and private decision-makers, disseminates scientific knowledge and raises awareness toward the general public. June 8th and the Ocean for Climate Days will become an international must for ocean and climate issues relayed on the web at the international level. Many other converging events will punctuate the year 2016.
As a transversal approach to these four lines, the Platform follows the climate negotiation in order to facilitate the integration of ocean and climate advocacy. Lastly, the Platform develops alliances with States committed to the integration of the ocean in climate issues and/or the climate in ocean governance.
This year and beyond, depending on opportunities, the Platform will be able to generate new topics within the “economic solutions” line, including Marine Renewable Energies (MRE) and within “ecosystem solutions” including the consideration of blue carbon in the climate regime. Lastly, in the end the Platform can develop a regional complementary approach to expand these lines.
Download our Activity report 2015.
photo © J.Girardot/ Tara Expéditions