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NIVA has made a strong presence at The UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 (2 – 13 December 2019). Senior Research Scientist Richard Bellerby has taken part in and hosted events on ocean acidification (Arctic Council and The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) as well as contributed to the ICCI-report "Cryosphere 1,5 degrees", launched during the conference.

“The Arctic Ocean has already undergone changes, exposing marine ecosystems to levels of ocean acidification that is challenging to their productivity, structure and function. If carbon emissions are not drastically reduced, we will witness a situation where large areas will be incompatible with existing ecosystems. If emissions continue as they are, then the entire Arctic Ocean will exceed ocean acidification thresholds for many marine organisms and the services they provide”, NIVA Senior Research Scientist, Richard Bellerby, says. 

All aboard

The eight Arctic States, Indigenous organizations that have Permanent Participant status in the Arctic Council, and the Council’s Working Groups decided to bring the issue of ocean acidification to a global arena – in the form of a COP25 side event themed “All Aboard! Tackling Polar Ocean Acidification”.

The briefing for COP25 delegates and accredited journalists brought together acidification experts from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the East China Normal University / Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and the Inuit Circumpolar Council. The Icelandic Minister for the Environment opened the lunchtime side event, held in the Cryosphere Pavilion on 9 December 2019. You can see a video from the vent in the frame below.

From the COP25: Side Event on Ocean Acidification from Arctic Council on Vimeo.

Ocean acidification

In the brief interview below - directly from the COP25 - ocean acidification expert Professor Richard Bellerby from the East China Normal University and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, explains what ocean acidification is, why we need to be concerned, and what we can do to tackle the issue.

From the COP25: Richard Bellerby from Arctic Council on Vimeo.

Where Urgency and Ambition Meet

Finally, The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI) launched a new report during COP25. The new report is entitled "Cryosphere1.5° - Where Urgency and Ambition Meet".

The summaries in this Cryosphere1.5 Report, taken from the IPCC SR1.5 and Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere (SROCC) and other published research, confirm that at some point in the gradient above 1.5°C, processes will be set in motion that cannot be halted or easily reversed, in some cases not even if temperatures return to pre-industrial. This is why policy decisions in the coming years will determine the future state of the Earth for centuries and generations to come.

Never has a single generation held the future of so many coming generations, species and ecosystems in its hands. Cryosphere climate change is not like air or water pollution, where the impacts remain local and from which ecosystems largely can be restored. Cryosphere climate change, driven by the physical law of water’s response to 0°C, is different. Slow to manifest itself, once triggered it inevitably forces the Earth’s climate system into a new state, one that most scientists believe has not existed for 65 million years.This future however is neither defined, nor hopeless. Instead, pathways to the needed lower emissions levels not only exist, but were very well-defined in the SR1.5 as physically, technologically, and economically feasible.

ICCI is a network of senior policy experts and researchers working with governments and organizations to create, shape and implement initiatives designed to preserve as much of the Earth’s cryosphere as possible. ICCI programs target the unique climate dynamics at work in the cryosphere, while at the same time lending increased urgency to global climate efforts aimed at CO2 and other greenhouse gases by communicating the unexpected rapidity and global implications of cryosphere warming. 

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