The World Ocean Conference (May 11-15, 2009, Manado,
Indonesia) produced the Manado Oceans Declaration (signed
by 76 governments), which stresses the importance of having
oceans on the climate change agenda at COP15 and beyond.
The Manado Global Ocean Policy Day (the multistakeholder dialogue organized by the Global Forum and partners) produced the Co-Chairs’ Statement emanating from the Global Ocean Policy Day detailing major ocean, coasts, and SIDS issues related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, financing, capacity development and civil society.
The Oceans Day at Copenhagen will bring together in one venue the latest scientific understanding about the impacts of climate change and increased concentration of atmospheric carbon on the oceans. This enhanced knowledge, in addition to the Manado Declaration, underpins the strong need to focus on oceans, coasts, and coastal communities in the climate negotiations and provides the context for charting the way forward.
Climate change is having a profound impact on the world’s oceans. Ocean warming directly impacts humans and ocean life – from sea level rise and increased storm intensity to habitat shifts and receding coastlines. This in turn disrupts ocean and coastal foodwebs, making it harder for fish, seabirds, and humans to find the food they need at the time they need it. These changes cause severe impacts to vulnerable coastal areas, sometimes resulting in loss of life, damage to infrastructure and economy, to tourism and fisheries, and possible displacement and resettlement of populations.
In addition, the oceans have absorbed approximately 30-50% of the CO2 produced by humans over the last 200 years – CO2 that would have otherwise contributed to global warming. The absorbed CO2 is fundamentally changing sea water chemistry, resulting in ocean acidification—the other CO2 problem— with substantial impacts on ocean chemistry and life. (Please see the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) Statement on Ocean Acidification.