Humanity is exacting a terrible toll on the ocean. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will publish its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate later this week. Its overarching message will be that global warming, combined with the negative impacts of numerous other human activities, is devastating our ocean, with alarming declines in fish stocks, the death of our reefs, and sea level rise that could displace hundreds of millions of people. But there is a glimmer of hope — there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the ocean can be a potent force in stabilizing the climate and building a secure future for everyone.
Ocean-based climate solutions could deliver as much as 21% of the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. These reductions could amount to 11.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or CO2e — a standard unit that measures the impact of greenhouse gases in relation to the effects of CO2. This figure is greater than the current emissions from all coal-fired power plants worldwide.
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