Comment on IPCC Oceans and Cryosphere report

Published:25 September 2019

Commenting on a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the effect of climate change on the oceans and cryosphere,Rt Hon Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury and former Environment Minister, said:

The world's oceans and cryosphere - the frozen parts of the planet, including the Arctic - are being affected by climate change. Image: A Edwards
The world's oceans and cryosphere - the frozen parts of the planet, including the Arctic - are being affected by climate change. Image: A Edwards

“This report shows very clearly that the fundamental and non-negotiable requirement for a healthy ocean is sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“We can and should protect fish and their habitat from over-fishing and other forms of exploitation, but the IPCC analysis shows that if we do nothing about carbon emissions such measures will amount to little more than sticking-plaster.

“With the UK hosting next year’s UN climate summit, everyone in Government at any level must focus their attention like a laser-beam on the single goal of cutting emissions; only that can ensure long-term health for the amazing ocean life about which we all care so deeply.”

Richard Black, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said:

“Shrinking ice-sheets, a suffocating ocean, glaciers that act as reservoirs for billions of people melting away; there is precious little of cheer in this latest IPCC report.

“In particular, declining levels of oxygen in the ocean, combined with warming and acidification, present marine life with a triple whammy of threats whose collective impact is incalculable, while the release of greenhouse gases from a melting Arctic risks taking us beyond the point where climate change could be easily constrained.

“Nevertheless, it’s worth recalling that the IPCC’s report last year concluded that governments can shrink emissions quickly enough to keep global warming to 1.5ºC if they choose. And as all governments commissioned and have now accepted this new report, none can claim to be unaware of both the dangers of untrammelled climate change nor the feasibility of preventing it.”

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