The changing ocean and its impact on society

Organizer: UNFCCC Conference of Parties 21

Date: Thu / Dec. 3 - 14:30

Time: 14:30

Area: Blue Zone

This side-event will provide an integrated and updated perspective by ocean experts on the climate related changes, risks and projections for both natural and human ocean systems including a review of key reports and sources of information on science and policy related to ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation and sea-level rise, including the major global synthesis of knowledge by IPCC AR5, and ocean research since 2014 including the synthesis by the Oceans Initiative 2015. The side event has been organised by Carol Turley (Plymouth Marine Laboratory).


Issues which will be addressed:                 


  1. The influence of the ocean on the climate system and provision of important services to humans.


  1. The impacts on key marine and coastal organisms, ecosystems, and services from anthropogenic CO2 emissions and the risk of impacts up to 2100, with business as usual CO2 emissions (scenario RCP8.5) and the stringent CO2 emissions scenario (RCP2.6).


  1. The level of reduction of CO2 emissions required in order to prevent irreversible impacts on ocean ecosystems and their services.


  1. Management options (mitigation, protection, adaptation and repair) that will minimize impacts of GHGs on ocean ecosystems and how these may become fewer and less effective as CO2 increases.


  1. Why the ocean provides further compelling arguments for rapid and rigorous CO2 emission reduction and eventual reduction of atmospheric CO2 content.


  1. The role the ocean research community can play in post-2015 climate negotiations.


Panel chair: Ulrich Wolf, JPI-Oceans.


Panellist presentations:

  • Carol Turley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK Ocean Acidification research programme. Why the ocean is important and how it is changing.
  • Paul Pearson, Cardiff University and UK Ocean Acidification research programme. Ocean change in Earth’s past and its significance today.
  • Hans Pörtner, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the German BIOACID research programme, IPCC. Summary of IPCC AR5 and BIOACID findings
  • Jean-Pierre Gattuso, CNRS-UPMC, Oceans 2015 Initiative. Risk of a changing ocean to marine ecosystems and society.
  • Vladimir Ryabinin, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. How the UN can help addressing science challenges related to the ocean and climate change.
  • Phillip Williamson, UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme and Natural Environment Research Council. The changing ocean: what can we do about it?
  • Alex Magnan, IDDRI. The role of the ocean community in post-2015 climate negotiations.


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