The Cousteau Society joined yesterday 29th November the high-level event ” Because the Ocean », at the eve of the official opening of the COP21.
The event was organized at the Pavilion Tara ” Ocean and Climate”, and brought together representatives of governments and civil society. A joint declaration was signed supporting:
1) A special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the ocean,
2) A UN conference on Ocean and Seas to establish a regular review and benchmarking of SDG 14, the Ocean Sustainable Development Goal, and
3) The implementation of a working group under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) which aims to develop an ocean action plan.
During the question session , the Cousteau Society highlighted the following points :
The current negotiations of the COP21 give themselves the ambition to limit to 2 ° C the increase in temperature by 2050 , amount which would reach a concentration of 450 ppm in GHG, by 2050. But this effort will still not be enough for Ocean issues … To protect much of the diversity of the oceans, including the key ecosystems, such as coral reefs and the people who depend on them, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere should remain around 350 ppm and the related increase in temperature terms stabilize around + 1.5 ° C. The longer we remain in the danger zone , above 350, the more likely we will be witnessing irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems.
The 2 ° C limit must be clearly presented as a first step. The Swedish Minister for Cooperation and Development, Mrs Isabella Lövin acquiesced and agreed that the + 2 ° C threshold “should not be seen as a target but as a ceiling not to be exceeded above.” Cousteau Society fully support the position of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the efforts of many environmental NGOs and scientific organizations. They are fighting in Paris for a max of 1.5 ° C increase / 350 ppm of C02 target. The chances of success are low but the AOSIS we were joined after Copenhagen by more than 100 countries, including the 49 members of the Least Developed countries (LDCs) and more recently by the Italian government. French Prime Minister, Mr Laurent Fabius, during a COP21 preparatory press conference stated that “we must not forget the limit of + 1.5 ° C.”
Let’s keep this hope…