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This Is An Ocean and Climate Emergency

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This Is An Ocean and Climate Emergency

Marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage have released their 2021 Ocean and Climate Report and their findings are stark.

 

Over the past five years, our oceans have reached their hottest temperatures on record, with the rate of ocean warming having more than doubled since 1993.

However, among the steady increases in ocean temperatures - just like on land - underwater heatwaves can ravage marine areas, killing corals and disrupting the exisiting habitats. These underwater heatwaves are becoming more frequent, prolonged and severe, with the number of heatwave days increasing by 50% over the last 30 years.

One of the most significant impacts of higher ocean temperatures is global sea level rise - of the 8 inches of sea level rise measured since 1880, 3 inches has occured in just the past 25 years. Sea level rise is caused by thermal expansion - the physical process of objects getting bigger as they warm - however this is also exacerbated by decades of ice sheet loss on Greenland and Antarctica and retreating glaciers elsewhere. 

8 inches of sea level rise may not sound like much, but low lying coastal habitats are already being devastated and higher and warmer oceans waters will make extreme weather events, like hurricanes, storm surges, and heavy rainfall more intense. 

The impact to humans in a warming world is devastating. If we are unable to hold planetary warming at 1.5degreesC and surpass 2degreesC an additional 10 million people will need to migrate due to sea level rising, 50% more of the global population will epxerience water scarcity and a further 2million km2 of permafrost will be lost. 

The Solutions

The report details their suggestions for how to tackle this crisis. Chief among which is an immediate adoption of Net Zero carbon. Carbon dioxide is the main contributor to why the climate is warming, and like an over-flowing bath, we need to shut off the tap.

Carbon dioxide is released when fossil fuels are burned and SAS call for investment and faster adoption of renewable energy technologies. 

However, shutting off the tap on carbon dioxide won't be enough to mitigate the damage of climate change, and instead we need to work to lock-up the carbon dioxide we have already emitted - storing in carbon sinks. Planting trees on land is a well known example of this, however, SAS suggest that marine carbon sinks could be as, if not more, effective. 

However, we need the government to lead, their 2050 targets ignore the seriousness of the situation. Will you join us in supporting Surfers Against Sewage and their petition to demand the UK government takes swift action? 

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