VIENNA—Our oceans are in deep trouble. Coordinated research and urgent global action is needed to limit damages to the marine ecosystems due to increasing ocean acidification, a top official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
“ The marine ecosystems that keep the oceans healthy are subject to increasing stress. In dealing with threats to the health of the seas, governments need accurate data. For that, they need skilled researchers who can devise accurate models to help predict future conditions. That way, governments can start implementing the appropriate strategies to protect the seas and oceans,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told participants at the IAEA’s Scientific Forum, titled The Blue Planet – Nuclear Applications for a Sustainable Marine Environment. The forum is being held on the sidelines of the IAEA’s annual General Conference here.
Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is absorbed by oceans which in turn dissolves and increases ocean water acidity.
“ Nuclear and isotopic techniques make an important contribution to improving our understanding of the challenges that threaten the health of our oceans,” Amano said. “Healthy sea and oceans matter to us. Together, we need to evaluate the challenges facing our oceans and seek solutions.”
Prince Albert II of Monaco said the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center that has been set up in Monaco last year will help boost coordinated research and policy that mitigate pressures on the oceans.
“ It is imperative that we address mitigation of climate change, build resilience of natural ecosystems by reducing stress factors and expand scientific research. We need realistic but also bold scientific measures to promote a blue economy,” Prince Albert II said in a video message during the forum.
Prince Albert II stressed that the increased in world population, urbanization and the consequences of climate change and ocean acidification imperil marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
“ It is already impacting hundreds of millions of people notably in the most vulnerable regions of the world. We need a sustainable environment,” he said.
On the other hand, Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues Ronald Jumeau calls for immediate action by policymakers to avoid widespread and severe damage to marine ecosystems from ocean acidification, climate variability, increase in temperature and sea level rise.
“ We urgently need to address these issues as it threatens the viability and even the survival of small island states. Ocean acidification and other stress factors also threatens our marine-based tourism, economic growth, food security, jobs and social well-being and cultural identity,” Jumeau said.
By Imelda Abano, PNEJ member