Ocean acidification included in the Global Ocean Commission proposed indicators for the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Ocean and Seas

As the United Nations’ Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiation is underway, with a view to concluding before the start of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015, the Global Ocean Commission has issued a document to support this process, entitled Elements of Indicators for the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Ocean and Seas.

Target 14.3 reads “minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.”

Proposed indicators:

  • Research programmes on carbon sequestration trends
  • Monitor pH vulnerable species populations i.e. marine calcifiers such as for example coral reefs

With the adoption of the SDGs taking place two months before the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris, it is extremely important that indicators for SDG 13 (on climate change) emphasize the need to accelerate the decarbonisation of the economy and the reduction of CO2 emissions globally, and to reinforce the commitment of the international community to take collective action to curb CO2 emissions down drastically. Efforts should aim at the reduction of CO2 emissions at source. The call for enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels contained in Target 14.3 in relation to ocean acidification impacts should emphasize the need to measure in the first instance, carbon sequestration trends. A report commissioned by the Global Ocean Commission, The High Seas and Us estimates that life in the high seas is absorbing 500 million tonnes of carbon per year. More studies are needed to fully understand the role of the ocean in the carbon cycle. Scientific research should also monitor the ultimate consequences of carbon surplus in the ocean on marine ecosystems.

Global Ocean Commission, 16 February 2015. Report.

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