Ocean acidification: a threat to marine ecosystems and economies in the Commonwealth and beyond (text & video)

The continued growth of CO2 emissions poses a grave threat to marine species, food chains and economies in the form of ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs up to 30% of annual carbon emissions, resulting in a fall in the pH value of its seawaters, thus signifying a rise in their acidity. The past 20–30 years have seen a rapid increase in ocean acidification and, unless decisive actions are taken to stem emissions, it will continue to rise. This will have detrimental impacts on the chemistry of the oceans, threatening the well-being of the marine ecosystems, coastal industries and the human communities that depend on them.

Commonwealth countries are highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of ocean acidification. Of the 56 Commonwealth members, 49 have marine coastlines, and 25 are small island developing states (SIDS). Around the United Kingdom, the effects have already started to show in the North Atlantic Ocean and seas of the North-West European Shelf, putting many marine species and the fishery industry at high risk. Recognising the gravity of the threat, the Commonwealth Blue Charter established an Ocean Acidification Action Group, under the leadership of New Zealand, to address its impacts and share knowledge about how to mitigate them.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 calls for conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources. One of its key targets is to address and minimise the impacts of ocean acidification through co-operation at all levels. The Blue Charter’s Ocean Acidification Action Group has taken actions in support of this, including the publication of a policy handbook to assist Commonwealth governments. But there is much more to do.

This event will bring together policymakers, scientists and other ocean experts from within and outside of the Commonwealth to discuss this growing crisis. It will explore the threat ocean acidification poses to marine ecosystems; identify what’s at stake for economies, communities and individuals; and highlight best practices that can help stem its tide.

Ocean acidification: Time for action is a report written by Economist Impact for Back to Blue, an initiative of Economist Impact and The Nippon Foundation. The purpose of this report is to highlight the organisational efforts being taken by national and subnational governments, as well as other organisations, to address the threat to marine ecosystems posed by ocean acidification and the role of action plans in those efforts Read the report here: https://backtoblueinitiative.com/ocea…

*** Discover the data on ocean acidification in this interactive visual: https://backtoblueinitiative.com/ocea…

ABOUT THE BACK TO BLUE INITIATIVE ‘Back To Blue’ marries Economist Impact’s global audience and its reputation for objective, independent analysis with The Nippon Foundation’s global reputation for supporting ocean science, data and evidence. This unique initiative aims to have a measurable impact on ocean health.

To learn more, visit: https://backtoblueinitiative.com/

Economist Impact Events, YouTube, 14 November 2023. Video.

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