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Blue solution to humanity’s “code red” crisis
Why is the ocean, which makes up more than 70% of the planet’s surface and is the Earth’s largest homeostatic mechanism, being largely ignored in the global climate-crisis discussion?
A guest blog by Chris Gorell Barnes, founding partner, Ocean 14 Capital
The heat dome over Canada’s Pacific Northwest that killed hundreds of humans and “cooked” one billion sea creatures; Europe’s catastrophic floods; and the worst wildfires in almost a decade could become our new normal.
Released in August, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, the first part of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that such extreme weather will become more frequent.
UN secretary-general António Guterres has called this report a “code red” for humanity. It highlights that emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900.
We can’t leave the ocean out of the net-zero equation
To avoid global temperatures exceeding 1.5°C of warming over the next 20 years, we cannot emit more than 400bn tonnes of CO₂—a quantity we are currently set to emit in less than a decade.
Pledges for net zero are coming in thick and fast as we slowly transition to solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal and hydrogen energy. Carbon capture and storage is being attempted, but as recent forest fires attest, mass tree-planting cannot be our only solution.
So, what else can be done? And why is the ocean, which makes up more than 70% of the planet’s surface and is the Earth’s largest homeostatic mechanism, being largely ignored in the global climate-crisis discussion?
The ocean is suffering from the effects of global warming, having absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat produced since the Industrial Revolution. Coral bleaching, marine heat waves, interrupted fish migration and ocean acidification are all evidence of this.
Moreover, ocean currents are amplifying the effect of rising temperatures and melting the polar caps to a point that could see sea levels rising by one metre by 2100, according to the IPCC’s report Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
But in its vastness, the ocean also holds solutions to the climate crisis.
To read the full blog and find out how the ocean holds the solutions to the climate crisis, click here.