The Oceans Get Their Day in Copenhagen - Oceana USA
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December 15, 2009

The Oceans Get Their Day in Copenhagen

This is Jackie’s seventh post from the Copenhagen climate conference. Read the others here. – Emily

One sore point in the Copenhagen process for some us is the lack of focus on our oceans. By raising ocean issues at every opportunity we hope to begin to remedy the historic lack of attention they have recieved. As the second week of the two-week meeting began, Oceana partnered with dozens of like-minded organizations to co-sponor an international “Oceans Day.”

This was a full day of ocean advocates from around the world coming together to share infomration and strategize on how to bring the oceans closer to the center of debate. After all, the oceans are in big trouble, as we all know. If we don’t put a halt to climate change, we will see continued ocean acidification, and threats to corals and many other species. This will lead to major disturbances in ocean ecosystems – and that will cost us all dearly. Tourism, fishery economies and storm protection will be lost. Billions of dollars per year – and that doesn’t even start to count the impacts of sea level rise, melting sea ice, and other ocean impacts from climate change.

High level participants included Prince Albert II of Monaco, as well as many national ministers of marine affairs including the Marine Affairs Ministers from the Solomon Islands, the Seychelles, and Indonesia. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco spoke to the group as well with a message about the importance of protecting marine ecosystems in the United States. 

We heard from Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Korea, and more. A highlight was a presentation by Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier about the challenges to Alaska natives. And I was proud to have the opportunity to again work with top scientists to get the ocean acidification message on the table through yet another panel discussion featuring Oceana teamed with Scripps, Stanford, and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. 

The whole event was pulled together by a team led by the Global Forum for Oceans and Coasts, teamed with the European Environment Bureau. They have our thanks and we hope that future UN Climate meetings will incorporate the oceans into their agendas even more.