Recommendation Catalog on Marine Conservation Submitted
The increasing concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting climate change with rising temperatures threaten the world's oceans in two ways: the oceans are warming up, and more CO2 is dissolving in the water, making it more acidic. For this reason, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) recommends far-reaching efforts to protect the oceans and adaptation measures for coastal residents.
The WBGU points this out in a special report that will be handed over to the two state secretaries Michael Müller (environment) and Thomas Rachel (education and research) today. In it, the Advisory Council warns that humanity is already triggering changes in marine ecosystems that would not have taken place in the last millions of years. The WBGU cites the most obvious consequences, for example, as the retreat in Arctic sea ice, stronger hurricanes in the tropics and the accelerated rise in sea level, which has risen by three centimeters in the last ten years alone.
In order to limit the damage to seas and coasts, the scientists involved advise, among other things, to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 and thus at least curb climate change. Politicians and authorities should also develop new strategies for coastal protection. They should not shy away from unpopular measures such as orderly withdrawals from particularly endangered areas and should also provide financial resources for poorer countries. Refugees from underdeveloped countries who are fleeing because of climate change should also be granted a certain amount of legal certainty – a quota system would be conceivable, for example, under which countries would have to take in a corresponding number of people based on their emissions. The WBGU's call for larger marine protection areas, which should cover at least 20 to 30 percent of the ocean area in the future, is also likely to be controversial. With this, the researchers want to strengthen the resilience of water bodies against acidification and warming and make their future use more sustainable. On the other hand, they clearly reject the storage of carbon dioxide in the deep sea as a countermeasure, since this could have unforeseeable consequences for the wildlife there and is also not guaranteed in the long term.