Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a landmark report setting out the catastrophic threat that climate breakdown poses to the world’s oceans and the people that rely on them.
The report highlights that 90% of the excess heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions has been absorbed by the oceans. This warming, in combination with acidification and reduced oxygen, is projected to reduce all marine life by 15% if emissions aren’t drastically reduced.
Coral reefs are under particular threat: globally reefs are projected to dramatically decline by 70-90% if temperature rise is limited to 1.5°C (above pre-industrial levels), with near complete loss if it reaches 2°C.
The World Meteorological Organisation also released a report this week finding that emissions need to be reduced five times faster than current levels in order to hit the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming below 1.5℃.
This is not just an environmental crisis but a humanitarian one too. If emissions aren’t slashed, global fisheries are projected to fall by 25%. This would be catastrophic for the 10-12% of the world’s population that depends on fishing for their livelihoods or food security.
In addition to the fisheries decline, the increase in flooding and extreme weather events already affecting hundreds of millions of people in tropical coastal regions is projected to dramatically worsen as temperatures rise.
Blue Ventures’ approach is designed to strengthen the resilience of tropical coastal communities, protecting their human rights in the face of climate breakdown.
“This report confirms that we are facing an environmental crisis and that tropical coastal communities are on the frontline of these impacts. Strengthening coastal resilience with human rights-based approaches is critical to tackling this humanitarian emergency, and we implore world leaders to take immediate steps to move faster towards net-zero emissions.”
Alasdair Harris, Blue Ventures’ Executive Director
Kokoly is one of the millions of small-scale fishers on the front lines of climate breakdown.
Hear her story in this short film from Blue Ventures and the Sundance Institute.