Why Climate Change Solutions Must Focus on Oceans • Earth.com


Climate change is imminent, if it is not already there, and scientists around the world are struggling to find a way to combat it. One of the newest and most involved efforts comes from a team of more than a dozen international researchers from around the world. Ocean Solutions Initiative, including scientists from CNRS, IDDRI, and University of Sorbonne.

The researchers published a report in Frontiers in Marine Science in the hope that the decision makers gathered in Poland for COP24 next December take their data seriously. An important part of this report is an assessment of the potential of thirteen ocean-focused measures to combat climate change.

Our oceans help regulate global warming by acting both as a carbon sink and as a heat sink. But they perform this task at the cost of far-reaching effects that affect our marine physical and chemical processes, our ecosystems and the benefits they bring to our species.

In this report, researchers at the Ocean Solutions Initiative present an initial report of this type on thirteen ocean-based actions, including local and global actions that can reduce the effects of climate change, or at least contribute to our adaptation. to a sustainable economy. climate change. They selected these measurements according to the frequency with which they are mentioned in the scientific literature.

The measurements evaluated in this study fall into four categories: reduction of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, increase in the proportion of solar radiation reflected in space, protection of marine ecosystems and manipulation of adaptation biological and ecological impacts of climate change. The researchers analyzed the potential of each measure to reduce three climate-related factors: ocean warming, ocean acidification and sea level rise.

The measure with the highest potential to immediately tackle the causes of climate change has proven to be a switch to ocean – based renewable energy.

"Offshore wind farms, wave energy and other ocean-based renewable energies have great potential for reducing carbon emissions, but they are also cost-effective and ready to be implemented on a large scale, "says the co-ordinator. author of the study. Dr. Alexandre Magnan of French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

The researchers also determined local efforts of moderate efficiency aimed at reducing ocean acidification and sea level rise.

"Reducing marine pollution, halting the over-exploitation of marine resources, restoring hydrological fluxes and protecting marine habitats are all technologically ready and offer considerable benefits, "said Dr Jean-Pierre Gattuso, lead author of the report. CNRS in France. "The restoration and conservation of coastal vegetation, such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass beds, in order to increase the absorption of CO2 and reduce additional emissions, are also possible with some disadvantages. "

Unfortunately, many of the other measures would be too costly or lead to other environmental impacts – potentially more disastrous. "Our study shows that all measures involve trade-offs and that decisions must consider their relevance in terms of costs, benefits and ease of governance," says Magnan. "The potential of ocean-based options to deal with climate change and its impacts is very high and depends on the ability of societies, locally and internationally, to decide on the right mix of measures."

By Connor Ertz, Earth.com Editor

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