Crucial to life, the oceans have the opportunity in the climate focus

Crucial to life, the oceans have the opportunity in the climate focus
Armed with better data than ever, scientists have found in recent months the increasing pace of global warming and the state of nature.

But there is another area of ​​concern, one that covers two-thirds of the planet and plays a crucial role in absorbing the dangerous greenhouse gases and food chains to the climate patterns of everything it regulates.

Oceans are crucial for life on Earth, although they often only appear in the environmental debate when analyzing plastic pollution or decreasing fish populations.

But experts believe that that could be changing.

"We have an important opportunity in the next 18 months to do something for the oceans," said Dan Laffoley of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published a historical report in October 2018, warns of the increase in global temperatures, and in this last month of September, the state's oceans in their latest assessment.

"The IPCC report will be pretty bleak," said Lisa Speer, Director of International Ocean Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As the levels of greenhouse gases in the environment increase more and more, so do the levels of the sea; The oceans currently invade the earth around 3.3 millimeters (0.13 inches) per year, and the rate is accelerating.

The last IPCC assessment, in 2014, predicted that sea levels rose to one meter (3.3 feet) by the end of the century.

But more recent studies using more varied scenario planning have said that current warming trends could raise the seas to two meters by 2100.
Crucial to life, the oceans have the opportunity in the climate focus
Laffoley said there were four main threats, or "riders," that face the world's oceans: surface warming, ocean warming, deoxygenation, and acidification.

"Scientists are surprised by the scale, depth, and speed of change," he said on Saturday before World Ocean Day.


The oceans absorb around a third of all the CO2 produced by man, and 90 percent of the excess heat generated by the emissions goes to the sea.

By doing so, the surface of the ocean heats up and becomes more acidic, something that has already decimated coral populations on the reefs around the sea.

Oceans contain 97 percent of all living space on Earth and, like forests, help maintain the breathable atmosphere. But there is a limit to the amount of CO2 that can absorb.

"Every second breath we take from the oxygen produced by the ocean, it's time for us to make some radical changes," said Peter Thomson, the UN's special envoy for the oceans.

Activists and monitors hope that the report of the oceans of the IPCC is the same alarm among policymakers

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, whose country will host the climate summit of COP25 in December, has dedicated the conference to the oceans.

"It will remain in our memories as the blue COP," he said this year.
Crucial to life, the oceans have the opportunity in the climate focus
'A win-win-win'

While environmentalists have welcomed the growing political influence in the oceans, they stress that it is necessary to take concrete measures to stop the seas.

According to Raphael Cuvelier, project coordinator of the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco, which focuses on the oceans.

"Working for the protection and appreciation of marine ecosystems is to work for the climate," he said.

In particular, conservationists want the government to extend protected areas to allow species to recover.

"The areas of life in the oceans are shrinking," said Callum Roberts, an oceanologist at the University of York.

"We have seen how large marine protected areas can reverse these trends, we can change the climate because of the changes they counter."

Other experts highlight the importance of what is known as "blue carbon", the amount of CO2 absorbed by oceanic plants, such as seagrasses and mangroves.

A diplomat involved in the UN climate change debate said that areas that are rich in blue are beneficial both for the climate and for humanity.

"There are important synergies between mitigating climate change, carbon storage, and adaptation, considering the importance of mangroves in storm protection and sea level rise, as well as biological," he said.

"It's a win-win-win."