Interview: WWF International calls for protection of oceans to avoid "triple crisis"

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by Martina Fuchs and Guo Shuang

GENEVA/LONDON, June 30 (Xinhua) -- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International called for a coordinated global action plan to avoid a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

"We're facing a triple crisis. The three crises are all connected because the planet is one single, interconnected ecosystem. Any pressure on any earth system will reflect on the rest," Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, told Xinhua via video from the ongoing UN Ocean Conference.

The conference, co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal and currently taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27 to July 1, seeks to mobilize global actions for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources, and propel science-based innovative solutions.

According to the conference, the ocean is "not just 'the lungs of the planet' but also its largest carbon sink, a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change."

The ocean, covering 70 percent of the Earth's surface, is the planet's largest biosphere, and is home to up to 80 percent of all life in the world. It generates 50 percent of the oxygen we need, absorbs 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, and captures 90 percent of the additional heat generated from those emissions.

Earlier this month, World Trade Organization members at the 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva reached an agreement to curb harmful fisheries subsidies that lead to overfishing, a deal Lambertini hailed as a "historic achievement."

"This is a very significant first step, to stop providing subsidies to illegal and unreported and unregulated fishing, to stop subsidies for overfished stocks, and also subsidies for areas of the ocean that are right now unregulated," said the chief of the Switzerland-based independent conservation organization with a global network active in nearly 100 countries and regions.

"We have lost so much nature over the last few decades. We're continuing to lose nature today. We need to halt, we need to reverse, and we need to be nature positive by 2030 ... By protecting nature, we effectively protect ourselves and our future," Lambertini said.

"It's in everybody's interest, developed economies, developing economies, to actually come together under a common plan that deals with climate change and nature loss. Hopefully government leaders will understand that the only way to tackle these issues is to really agree together to a common plan," he said. Enditem

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