Ocean Acidification: Understanding the Threats, and Reducing the Impacts

When :

from Saturday 6 December, 2014
to Saturday 6 December, 2014

Type of event :

Interagency meeting

Where :

European Pavilion, Lima, Peru

Contact :

k.isensee@unesco.org, c.toro@unesco.org

This side event, organized during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change 2014 (COP20) in Lima, will provide an overview of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and on the services they provide.

Marine and coastal biodiversity – ecosystems, species and genetic material – provide enormous benefits for human well-being. Hundreds of millions of people rely directly on marine biodiversity for their livelihoods and food supply. The ocean is also critical to many important Earth system processes, playing a key role in climate regulation and nutrient cycling, among others.

However, the global ocean is facing a major threat from human-driven changes in atmospheric composition. Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduce seawater pH and have other effects on ocean chemistry, compromising the health of ocean ecosystems and their ability to provide important services to human society. As a slow-onset event, the impacts of ocean acidification are beginning to be felt in some areas; future projections indicate even more broad-reaching deleterious impacts, with climate change interactions, if action is not taken now. For example, the loss of tropical coral reefs will increase coastal erosion, greatly worsening impacts of sea level rise

Current efforts to understand the ecological and socioeconomic consequences will be presented during the event. An expert panel will review the main global efforts to improve our understanding of ocean acidification and outline options to reduce its impacts.

- Philip Williamson (UKOA, Natural Environment Research Council)
- Carol Turley (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)
- Dorotheé Herr (International Union for Conservation)
- David Osborn (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Cesar Toro (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, IOCARIBE).

The side event is organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC of IAEA), the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML).