Ground Report | New Delhi: Why are oceans important?; The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’, released on Wednesday, reveals the scope of the crisis facing humanity. facing the warming of the oceans and its immediate consequences.
The IPCC is the United Nations body in charge of evaluating scientific knowledge related to climate change and the new special report on the oceans addresses the main threats that global change poses to the marine world, such as rising temperatures, overfishing, rising sea levels, or increasing acidification. 104 authors and editors have worked on the report, who have reviewed 6,981 publications.
Why are oceans important
But what do we know about the state of the oceans? These are some facts to consider:
- 1.- The ocean is a vital space for the life of living beings, it covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and is part of the largest biosphere on the planet.
- 2.- The oceans are home to between 50% and 80% of all life on Earth, according to data from the World Resources Institute (WRI).
- 3.- Likewise, they generate 50% of the oxygen that is needed on Earth and absorb 25% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions derived from human activities.
4.- They capture 90% of the heat generated by CO2 emissions, which means that they are the largest carbon sink on the planet and a buffer against the impacts of the climate crisis, according to the WRI.
5.- The marine world and its resources occupy number 14 in the list of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
6.- According to the UN, they contain 97% of the planet’s water and represent 99% of the world’s habitable surface by volume.
7.- More than 3,000 million people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihood and fishing directly or indirectly employs more than 200 million people.
8.- Worldwide, the market value of marine resources is estimated at 3 trillion dollars per year or around 5% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
9.- There are a million animal and plant species in danger of extinction, including marine ones, according to the report of the Intergovernmental Scientific Normative Platform on Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
10.- It is estimated that 200,000 identified species inhabit the oceans, but in reality there are millions, according to the United Nations.
11.- The rise in seawater temperature caused by global warming causes its acidification and the alteration of these ecosystems.
12.- According to UN data, about thirteen million tons of plastics reach the oceans each year from human activities, something that puts the lives of thousands of species and ecosystems at risk.
13.- This situation led in 2017 those attending the first United Nations Oceans Conference to sign the commitment to preserve marine systems (goal 14 of the SDGs).
14.- In 2018, the Alliance of Nations for the Cleanup of the Oceans was presented to fight against plastic pollution, an issue that has generated global action against this waste.
15.- 2020-2030 has been proclaimed the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and in 2020, Portugal will host the next United Nations Conference on the Ocean.