The Beacon

Oceans in the Spotlight at COP16

Oceana marine scientist Ellycia Harrould-Kolieb is at the UN climate negotiations in Cancun this week.

This weekend at COP16 started off with style (or perhaps lack thereof) at the NGO party at Señor Frog’s – an infamous nightclub catering to 20-something American spring-breakers in Cancun. The NGO party is a great event that lets the climate community put on their party clothes and let off a little steam - before heading into the second very grueling week of negotiations.

Saturday was Oceans Day, an all-day event that focused on the issues facing the oceans due to increasing carbon dioxide levels. On the agenda this year were ocean acidification (a panel including myself, Carol Turley and Tony Haymet), blue carbon and coastal adaptation.

The ocean acidification panel covered the likely consequences to ocean systems and the humans that depend on them, and the scientific issues that the UNFCCC will need to address in order to effectively work ocean acidification into its framework and mechanisms. We have just released a white paper discussing this and it can be found here.

Saturday afternoon was spent at a session about climate change communication. An interesting discussion ensued about how important it is to better educate children and youths so that they can act as advocates of climate change. Also discussed was the political climate in the US and how to better communicate across both the right and left. This issue doesn’t discriminate and shouldn’t be seen as a partisan issue.

Sunday was the one day off for many of the delegates to the COP, and many headed to the wonderful beaches of Cancun. I hope that while they were sitting on the sand or diving or snorkeling on the reef that they took a moment to reflect on the wonders that are at risk  -- and they have the ability to save -- while here in Cancun.

Help us by taking action to stop ocean acidification!


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