Underwater landscape

Climate Change

  • Carbon emissions from human activities are causing ocean warming, acidification and oxygen loss. (IPCC) The ocean has absorbed between 20 to 30% of human-induced carbon dioxide emissions since the 1980s. (Special Edition of SDG Progress Report 2019)
  • The ocean has also absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system. (IPCC) Ocean heat is at record levels, causing widespread marine heatwaves. (WMO) .
  • By 2100, the ocean is very likely to warm by 2 to 4 times with low emissions (RCP 2.6) and 5 to 7 times with high emissions (RCP 8.5) compared to observed changes since 1970. (UNESCO)
  • Over the past 30 years, there has been an average increase of ocean acidity of 26% since pre-industrial times. At this rate, an increase of 100 to 150% is predicted by the end of the century, with serious consequences for marine life. (Special Edition of SDG Progress Report 2019)
  • 83% of the global carbon cycle is circulated through the ocean. Coastal habitats cover less than 2 per cent of the total ocean area but account for approximately half of the total carbon sequestered in ocean sediments.
  • “Blue carbon” - carbon stored in coastal and marine such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows - sequester and store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests and are now being recognised for their role in mitigating climate change (IUCN).