The Forum’s “Projected Impacts on Oceans and Coastal Communities of Alternative Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Scenarios: the Need for Utmost Caution” panelists included:
• Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair, Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
• Bill Eichbaum, VP of Marine and Arctic Policy, WWF-US (Oceans/Climate Imperatives)
• Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor, University of Queensland (Impacts on Coral Reefs and Peoples)
• Martin Sommerkorn, Senior Climate Change Advisor, WWF Arctic Program (Arctic Climate Feedbacks)
• Carol Turley, Head of Science, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (Ocean Acidification)
• Ambassador Dessima Williams, Chair, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations
• Hendra Yusran Siry, Government of Indonesia
• Manuel Cira, World Ocean Network
Panelists discussed the environmental, social and economic implications of alternative stabilization levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere on oceans and coastal communities, including their scientific basis. Panelists also analyzed and compared possible consequences for the marine environment of GHG stabilization levels if business as usual continues, versus stabilization levels of 450 and 350 parts per million (ppm) CO2. Statements by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the California Secretary of Natural Resources, Mike Chrisman, were presented, supporting strict emission reduction targets.
“Coastal communities, in both developed and developing countries, as well as in small island developing States (SIDS), are at the frontline of climate change impacts,” said Cicin-Sain. Communities from the Arctic to the tropics are impacted by increasing temperatures, sea ice melting, ocean surface warming, and changing ocean currents. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg discussed the impacts of climate change on coral reefs and coastal communities and concluded that “in order to preserve tropical coastal ecosystems, and the livelihoods of over 500 million people, carbon dioxide levels must be stabilized at or below 350 ppm.”
Ambassador Williams urged negotiators to “exercise utmost caution. We cannot credibly say that 2°C or thereabout is acceptable. We must have no more than 1.5°C. AOSIS also believes that mid-term targets are important and proposes reducing GHG equivalents to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 in order to reach an overall reduction of 95% by 2050.”
The panel also called attention to “Oceans Day,” being held at the UNFCCC 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen on December 14, 2009. Oceans Day will address the emerging Copenhagen agreement and discuss the way ahead for implementation of the agreement in the context of oceans and coastal communities.
Dr. Hendra Yusran Siry reported on the extensive efforts by the Indonesian government, in cooperation with various partners, to ensure that oceans and coasts are referred to in the appropriate sections of the UNFCCC negotiating text.
“It is essential that negotiations at Copenhagen remain on a track for binding agreements for major GHG reductions.” said Eichbaum. “There are 10 key substance elements that need to be dealt with in the final outcome of the Copenhagen process and therefore must be covered by a clear decision – the Copenhagen Deal. Copenhagen MUST deliver agreement on the future framework for global climate action.”
For more on Bill Eichbaum’s 10 key substance elements, please visit:
Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s full report is available at:
Dr. Martin Sommerkorn’s full report is available at: