Climate change efforts should focus on ocean-based solutions | 10/4/2018 | Staff
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Ambitious and rapid action is needed to reduce climate change and its impacts—and the first broad-scale assessment of ocean-based solutions shows the focus should be on the oceans. The study looks at the feasibility of 13 ocean-based measures to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), counteract ocean warming and/or reduce impacts like ocean acidification and sea-level rise. It identifies ocean-based renewable energy as the most promising, and several local marine conservation and restoration options as 'no-regret measures', that should be scaled-up and implemented immediately, but concludes all other measures are still too uncertain to recommend without further research. Published in Frontiers in Marine Science as part of the article collection 'Successes at the Interface of Ocean, Climate and Humans', the study highlights the trade-offs and governance issues associated with all solutions and emphasizes that the greatest benefit will come from combining global and local solutions through policy cooperation.

Current plans to reduce CO2 emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement are not enough to keep global temperatures below a 20C increase relative to pre-industrial levels. Despite the major role of oceans in climate regulation, ocean-based solutions to combat climate change have received relatively little attention compared to land-based solutions.

Ocean - % - CO2 - Emissions—and - Study

"The ocean already removes around 25% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions—and could remove and store much more," says the study's lead author, Dr. Jean-Pierre Gattuso from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France. "However little guidance is currently available on which ocean-based interventions will work best to reduce the scale and impacts of climate change."

To fill this gap, Gattuso and an international team of experts collaborating on The Ocean Solutions Initiative assessed 13 global and local measures. These fell into four categories: reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations; increasing the proportion of solar radiation reflected back to space; protecting marine ecosystems; and manipulating biological and ecological...
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