COP 21 gives potential to the Ocean but forgets maritime transport

Press release

After 14 days of intense negotiations on the occasion of the Climate Conference, the Paris agreement, in its final version, was finally released this morning. It marks the culmination of months of discussions between the 195 countries parties to the UN Convention on Climate change to find an agreement as from 2020 to limit global warming below 2°c and even 1.5°c. The text agreed upon this morning that will still need to be ratified by Parties sets clear basis for post 2020 negotiations. It nevertheless reflects in some aspects the short term visions of some States with objectives lacking of ambitions, given the urgency of the climate challenge.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, OCEAN IS IN THE CLIMATE AGREEMENT BUT WITH NO OBLIGATION FOR MARITIME TRANSPORT

Ocean is for the first time mentioned in the preamble of such an agreement’, welcomed Antidia Citores, Head of the Law and Lobbying department at Surfrider Foundation Europe. ‘It is not acceptable however, that maritime transport is not in the agreement, although it had been mentioned in the first drafts of the agreement States have missed there an unique opportunity to send a strong signal to this sector, which will be one of the big polluters in a near future, representing 17% of global emissions by 2050 if not regulated. It is all the more unfortunate as many ship-owners at national, European and international level, together with the European Union and environmental NGOs publicly voiced their support for this inclusion’

THE RESULTS OF AN UNRELENTING HARD WORK FROM SURFRIDER AND THE OCEAN AND CLIMATE PLATFORM

The Ocean being included for the first time ever in an UN agreement on climate change  happens after six months of Surfrider Foundation Europe touring in Europe via its Surfrider Campus Tour 21, with activities aiming at informing and engaging on Ocean and Climate issues. This tour finally ended its journey at the Bourget in Paris in December. On the agenda of the European tour: screenings of films and of the Climax web series created by Surfrider, conferences, talks, exhibitions, TV programmes, a music & art festival on environment and even negotiations simulations with young people from all over the world.

The Ocean and Climate platform on last December 6th

The Ocean and Climate platform on last December 6th

The mention of Oceans and its ecosystems in the text and its inclusion in the agenda of the negotiations are the results of joint efforts, in particular in advocacy, from the scientific community, progressive representatives from the private sector, civil society and Institutions within the Ocean and Climate Platform. Since its launch in June 2014 by Surfrider Foundation Europe and its partners, the Ocean and Climate platform, has continuously informed, communicated and, mobilised the general public and decision-makers on the role of the Ocean in the climate machine and the impacts it suffers from climate change. No less than five full days at the COP 21 venue and in Paris were dedicated to Ocean in relation with climate issues.

Beyond that, « it is on an everyday basis that Surfrider Foundation Europe acts for the  protection of the Ocean and, climate change is one of our major priority areas of work » added Antidia Citores. « Despite our frustration and deep disappointment that maritime transport has been once again exempt from the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can be proud of having contributed to put Ocean and Climate issues on the table at the climate negotiations and it is just a start» highlighted Antidia Citores.

PREPARING FOR THE POST PARIS AGREEMENT

We must now prepare the next meeting of all parties – COP 22- which will be held in Morocco. Ocean must, from now on, be part of the agenda of all Conferences of Parties. To do so, we will pursue our efforts in that direction -together with Monaco and our partners from the Ocean and Climate platform- to obtain an IPCC special report on Oceans’ concluded Antidia Citores.

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