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Intertwined ocean and climate: implications for international climate negotiations

Policy Briefs N°04/2015. Iddri, 2015. 4 p.

Key Messages:

  • Climate and ocean are inseparable: the ocean moderates anthropogenic climate change by absorbing significant proportions of the heat and CO2 that accumulate in the atmosphere, as well as by receiving all water from melting ice.
     
  • This climate-regulating function happens at the cost of profound alterations of the ocean’s physics and chemistry, leading to ocean warming and acidification, as well as to sea level rise. These changes significantly affect the ocean’s ecology (organisms and ecosystems) and eventually marine and coastal human activities (fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, health…).
     
  • As atmospheric CO2 increases, possible human responses become fewer and less effective.
     
  • This scientific statement provides further compelling arguments for immediate and ambitious CO2 emissions reduction at the international level. This conclusion applies to COP21 as well as to the post-2015 climate regime at large.