In the last 19 years, calls on governments to do something related to the climate change were frequent. However, ocean issue is as important as the climate change issue.
The following is the background information on climate change issue and ocean issue and why the world must concern about them.
For the first time, a call to form a global agreement to combat climate change was started by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s research in 1990. The recommendation showed that climate change was a serious threat for human kind and environment. The United Nations reacted and established the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to negotiate the need of convention related to the climate change.
They realized that the climate change would cost too much for life on the Earth. Extreme weather, rising sea surface that threatens to sink small islands and coral bleaching that dangers fish production are very serious challenges to be solved.
Many studies showed that climate change is affecting ocean temperatures, the supply of nutrients from the land, ocean chemistry, food chains, wind systems' shift, ocean currents and extreme events such as cyclones.
Meanwhile, the oceans play a major role in the climate system. The oceans are huge storehouses of carbon dioxide. Microscopic plants (phytoplankton) extract carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere during photosynthesis.
Warmer ocean temperatures could produce increased numbers of these plants, which could reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
New findings suggest that pouring iron into the ocean could help absorb excess greenhouse gases. Some scientists and entrepreneurs say that artificially-added iron can be used to spur blooms of CO2-gobbling plankton -- a quick, effective and relatively cheap weapon in the fight against climate change.
The UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP Achim Steiner said that experts estimate that up to 40 percent of the CO2 entering the atmosphere was being cycled through the marine environment which played a crucial role in moderating climate change.
However, other scientists and environmentalists argue that ocean dynamics are too poorly understood to support such radical action, except in small-scale tests designed to provide baseline data.
That such controversy prompted the Indonesia's Marine and Fisheries Minister Freddy Number to urge scientists to provide scientific data about how oceans could affect climate change. The result would be useful to bring the issue in the Denmark's Copenhagen that would discuss on the climate change in December.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2009)