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Ocean and Climate 2015 platform

The platfom is an alliance between all stakeholders of civil society and the research community to include the Ocean in solutions relating to climate change.

The decisions made during the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must take into consideration the ocean's central role in climate processes, as well as its capacity to provide solutions to the climate-related challenges facing our planet today.

The Ocean's crucial role in the climate machine

Covering 71% of the globe, the Ocean, beyond the huge volume of water that it contains, is a complex ecosystem that provides essential services for sustaining life on Earth. More than 25% of the COemitted each year by humans into the atmosphere is absorbed by the Ocean through complex mechanisms in which plankton play a major role. The Ocean is also the largest net supplier of oxygen in the world, playing an even more important role than forests. It is thus the main lung of the planet and is at the heart of the global climate system.

Maintaining “healthy″ ecosystems: A prerequisite for tackling climate change

Even though the Ocean continues to limit global warming, anthropogenic pressure – in particular carbon emissions, overfishing and pollution – has degraded marine ecosystems in past decades. The Ocean is at risk of not being able to fully play its role in regulating the climate. Ocean acidification in particular causes a reduction in carbon uptake in many ocean regions. It is therefore urgent to maintain the quality of marine ecosystems and restore those which have been degraded.

Integrating the Ocean into COP21 discussions and decisions

Since the inception of the UNFCCC in 1992, climate talks have mainly focused on States’ engagement to reduce carbon emissions generated by human activity, progressively followed by issues related to the role of forests in capturing and storing CO2, climate change challenges and adaptation measures. Yet, until now, the Ocean has only been given marginal consideration in terms of negotiated stakes, challenges and solutions in UNFCCC discussions. The need to integrate the Ocean at the heart of the negotiations and preparation of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties is obvious today.

We are convinced that the Ocean represents a great opportunity to tackle the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The state of scientific knowledge regarding the role of the Ocean in the climate machine, as well as the management of Ocean-based contributions and solutions in the face of climate change, will all contribute strongly to inform the debates and decisions on climate.

Existing solutions to strengthen the role of the Ocean in climate change mitigation and adaptation

Many solutions have already demonstrated that it is possible to restore biodiversity and to preserve the ecological functions and services of ecosystems linked to the Ocean, notably in the climate field. The creation of a representative network of marine protected areas or the restoration of seagrass beds and mangroves constitute a few examples.

Aside from being a carbon sink, the Ocean allows the development of activities that result in the reduction of greenhouse gas in the fields of energy, transportation and food through the development of renewable marine energies.

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