Climate change, ocean acidification and the marine environment: challenges for the international legal regime

The protection and conservation of the ocean warrant increased attention from the global community. Several disturbing issues pose a threat to  the marine environment and its well-being (Von Heland & Olsson, 2014, pp. 4470-4496), among them are marine environmental pollution and the degradation of marine biodiversity – two well-known challenges that must be overcome. Combined, they are striking challenges to the marine environment. Moreover, most troubling is that they are caused by an overwhelming level of human activities (Von Heland, Clifton &Olsson, 2014), which are sometimes transboundary, and whose consequences will become more severe and complicated if not properly curbed. hus, it is common knowledge that these activities require comprehensive policies, laws and principles to manage them effectively. Linked to these solutions is the need for responsibilities, cooperation and commitments at local, national, regional and international levels. Altogether, the actions required for the protection of the ocean from human activities in responsible ways has become a necessity rather than an option. However, despite the challenges becoming more acute, and the use of the ocean less sustainable and more harmful, a durable solution to reverse these impacts is unlikely. Considering these issues, this chapter lays the foundation for subsequent chapters by describing why and how ocean-related issues should be addressed responsibly, immediately and systematically, and how and why ocean pollution and threats to marine biodiversity are challenges to overcome. The exploration in this chapter guides the discussion in the subsequent chapters, which critically examine the current legal and institutional frameworks governing different issues of marine environmental protection and conservation.

Potts T., 2019. Climate change, ocean acidification and the marine environment: challenges for the international legal regime. In: Hassan D. & Karim S. (Eds.), International Marine Environmental Law and Policy. Routledge, Abingdon. Chapter (subscription required).



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