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Conservation International Statement on the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere

September 25, 2019

Arlington, Va. (September 25, 2019) – Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan and Senior Vice President, Center for Oceans Aulani Wilhelm released the following statements in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate:

Dr. M. Sanjayan:

“Oceans and the cryosphere — ice — are fundamental to the air you breathe, food you eat, water you drink, economies, wealth, trade and cultures. They stabilize Earth’s climate. In the climate breakdown, as emissions rise, absorptive oceans become hot, stratified and acidic. This is not new information. But today, the IPCC confronts us with the urgency to prevent future harm and the reality of irreversible damage.

“But that does not mean it’s time to fold. How resounding the consequences, how great the effect, is still up to us. It’s a matter of resilience and adaptation. It’s a matter of protecting and restoring oceans. It’s time to align governments, businesses and communities to protect the vulnerable, the millions who live on the water’s edge and ensure indigenous peoples continue to be on the forefront ocean stewardship.

“This is a moment for resolve. It’s why Conservation International is committed to protecting the ocean at an unprecedented, global scale — through science, through policy and through partnerships that give people an incentive for conservation. We have our work cut out, but the best is yet to come.”

Aulani Wilhelm:

“The IPCC report is asking us to be honest with ourselves: Unless we act now, within a generation the planet we know now will be severely degraded, as will the quality of our lives, with little chance to turn things back around. Marine ecosystems and the services they provide are in steep decline. The negative impacts on food and livelihood security, human well-being, livelihoods and more caused by the changes already occurring in the ocean and polar regions are undeniable — and for those living along Earth’s coastlines, the devastation will be catastrophic.

“The need for immediate, transformative action is clear. We need to restore and stop further destruction of coastal wetlands and ecosystems so they can continue to absorb and store carbon; to end destructive and illegal fishing while reforming fisheries and aquaculture practices and policies to make them more climate-smart; and to protect more of the ocean as fast as we can through networks of marine protected areas and large-scale ocean conservation efforts. It’s time for the world to recognize that climate change is ocean change.”

About Conservation International

Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “Drop in the Ocean”, “My Africa,” “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.