Was it the Scottish water temperature that contributed to the lack of targets for ocean acidification? A new opportunity is given in Egypt next year. Photo: © gresei / Shutterstock.com

COP26 neglects ocean acidification

“COP26’s ocean acidification failure: States must protect the world’s oceans” is the title of a noteworthy text by Professor Karen Scott (University of Canterbury), published in “The Conversation Australia and New Zealand”. Ocean acidification is caused by excess carbon dioxide in the oceans. So far, the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased from about 280 ppm in 1750 to 414 ppm. The resulting acidification – or decreased pH – is a threat to many marine species, especially shell-forming organisms and corals. As pointed out by the author, ocean acidification is among the targets of sustainable development goal 14 (Life in the Oceans), set by the UN. However, the Paris Agreement does not set a limit for ocean acidification, as it is focused on limiting global temperature rise. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires nations to protect the oceans. The author argues that “These obligations must be expressly considered and incorporated into commitments made by states […] in international climate agreements and their actions to implement these at the domestic level”, and she concludes that “COP27, to be held in Egypt next year, provides the next opportunity to address ocean acidification and to support a more integrated approach under both the climate change regime and the law of the seas”.

Source: RNZ 20 November 2021, https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/456190/cop26-s-ocean-acidificat...


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