Ocean-related solutions to mitigate climate rise

08 October 2019

08 October

Researchers from Oregon State University analyse the impact of climate change on the ocean and the potential of ocean-related solutions to mitigate climate risks. 

Tiffany Hionas

Ocean-related approaches to fighting climate change could play a considerable role in meeting the Paris Agreement’s target and keeping climate change within its cap at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Jane Lubchenco, an American environmental scientist co-authored a recent report highlighting the ocean’s key potential in being a source of solutions.

In this recent report, Jane Lubchenco and her collaborators have drawn similar conclusions to two recent international reports analysing different ocean-based activities to reduce and store emissions. Ocean-based renewable energy, ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems, and carbon storage in sea bed are all various ways to lessen emissions.

The High-Level Panel, a group of world leaders who are committed to a sustainable ocean economy, released a Call to Ocean-Based Climate Action outlining six types of actions for businesses and society to adopt, which involve investing in nature-based climate solutions. These solutions include; harnessing ocean-based renewable energy, decarbonising ocean industries, securing sustainable food for the future; advancing the deployment of carbon capture and storage; and expanding ocean observation and research.

Lubchenco sees great potential in employing these ocean-based activities to reduce emissions by 21%. Limiting warming would maintain huge proportions of the ecosystems, while also reducing health costs and benefitting economies.

Co-authors, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland and Eliza Northrop of the World Resources Institute feel that the ocean has been neglected from policy discussions and has not been considered as a key tool to reduce carbon emissions.

Lubchenco states that these actions called by the High-Level Panel are ‘ambitious’ but also ‘necessary’ as they ‘pay major dividends toward closing the emissions gap in coming decades and achieve other co-benefits along the way.’

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz4390

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