Science to Save the Reefs: An interdisciplinary dialogue between economist and biologist to propose practical solutions against Ocean Acidification and other global stress

Ocean acidification (OA), often called “the other CO2 problem”, is a consequence of an increased release of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Man-made CO2 does not only accumulate in the atmosphere, it also dissolves readily in seawater thereby releasing protons with, as a consequence, an increase in seawater acidity. The acidity of the oceans has increased by about 30% since the beginning of the industrial era, and may increase by more than 150% by the end of the century. This increase in acidity impacts the lives and well-being of many marine organisms and can also disrupt coastal and marine ecosystems and the services they provide. Among threatened ecosystems, coral reefs are probably the most sensitive to both climate change and ocean acidification.

The Centre Scientifique de Monaco is particularly involved in the scientific study of the impact of this environmental change on marine organisms, and more particularly on coral reefs since the 90s, developing studies from the molecular mechanism of action of OA to socio-economic impacts on coastal human societies. Scientific research at the CSM is associated within the Association Mongasque pour lAcidification des Ocans (AMAO), which includes media and funding activities carried out in the Principality of Monaco to communicate, promote and facilitate international actions on ocean acidification and other global stress factors affecting the marine environment fully supported by HSH Prince Albert II.

The CSM intends to organize a workshop in Monaco in October 2017, bringing together international experts, scientists, economists, lawyers, NGOs, international organizations, to propose, on the basis of the best available science, practical solutions for coral reefs, and other threatened ecosystems. The goal of this workshop, organized in partnership with IAEA and supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the French Ministry of Environment, will be to determine mitigation and adaptation solutions to OA and other stressors – impacts on coral reef ecosystems and the services they offer, at several different scales and levels: chemistry (e.g. geo-engineering), socio-economic (e.g. fisheries and selective aquaculture, cultural and anthropological, tax incentives), biological (e.g. selection of resistant species, reef restoration), technological (e.g. development of sensors and monitoring systems), legal (e.g. creation of protected areas and coral parks, “blue carbon”, governance and coastal waters law), communication sciences (e.g. new technologies) and psychology (e.g. behaviour of agents). Workshop participants will consider potential short-, medium- and long-term solutions. In addition, solutions will be differentiated according to the level of political decision (local, national, regional and international). Furthermore, the adaptation of identified solutions to the specifics of the study area (e.g. type of economy and level of development) will be discussed. The conclusions of this workshop will be delivered to policy-makers at the international level, in particular in developing countries.

Centre Scientifique de Monaco, The Ocean Conference (official website). Statement.

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