News

Ocean Acidification Report Highlights Climate Change Link and Need for Greater Observation and Coordination

UNESCO IOC18 November 2013: During a side-event to Warsaw Climate Change Conference, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched a publication titled 'Ocean Acidification: Summary for Policymakers,' the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) presented its Ocean Acidification Coordination Centre, and recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings on ocean acidification were discussed.

The side event highlighted initiatives to address the challenges associated with ocean acidification, including the need for greater international observation and coordination to address it, given that, according to the event's organizers, ocean acidification is: an emerging global concern; increasing as more carbon dioxide (CO2) is added to the atmosphere; and a risk to marine biodiversity, ecosystems and human society. Ocean acidification, a series of chemical changes resulting from the oceans' absorption of a quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide on a daily basis, is particularly endangering the existence of organisms with calcareous shells or skeletons with potential implications for entire marine ecosystems.

The summary for policymakers is based on research presented at the 'Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-COWorld,' where over 500 experts from 37 countries met in Monterey, California, in September 2012. The report illustrates the implications of ocean acidification in the future, both with and without any action taken today. More specifically, it discusses outcomes based on whether humans continue to emit CO2 at current rates, or if policymakers take action to mitigate these emissions.

The side event was coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission-UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO), in partnership with the IAEA, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).  The summary for policymakers was co-sponsored by IGBP, SCOR and IOC-UNESCO. [UNESCO Press Release] [IAEA Press Release on COP 19 Activities] [Publication: Ocean Acidification: Summary for Policymakers] [IOC-UNESCO Website] [OA-ICC Website] [IISD RS coverage of UNFCCC COP 19]