[Coral-List] Thank you ISRS!
rupert.ormond.mci at gmail.com
Sat Dec 19 09:40:54 EST 2015
Thanks for your thoughtful remarks. I assume you mean you were really
disappointed by the outcome of COP21? In contrast I believe we and most
other environmental campaigners consider the outcome, while far from
perfect, a good deal better than we had dared hope. We really didn't
expect that all nations represented would sign up to a worthwhile
agreement, nor that a long-term target would be set as low as 1.5°C,
especially given the numbers of politicians who seem to be
climate-change deniers . Failure as at Copenhagen seemed the much more
likely outcome. As it is, I personally, having been increasingly
depressed about the future of coral reefs over the last couple of
decades, now see at least a glimmer of hope.
I won't comment in detail on all your points, but regarding the 450 ppm
target, as you probably know, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed
the 400 ppm level during this year (compared to pre-industrial levels of
about 280 ppm). So unless we can miraculously switch off all carbon
emissions within a very few years, it is inevitable that we will
approach something like 450 ppm as a minimum. Worse of course, even with
existing carbon dioxide levels, because of the several decades time-lag
built in to the geophysics, global temperatures will still continue to
rise for the next 50 years or so.
But at least the agreement envisages a long-term target of 1.5°C of
warming (as compared to the 1°C of warming that we have just passed),
rather than simply accepting that 2 or even 3°C of warming are
inevitable or even perfectly acceptable. But, as you imply, achieving
this lower figure will require not only continuing international
agreement on increasingly severe restrictions, the acceptability of
which will doubtless be influenced the extent to which the scientific
community can stack up further evidence, but major changes in the
behaviour of all of us.
In relation to your comments about the carbon emissions cost of ICRS13
in Hawaii, may I simply reply that indeed within ISRS we have had
discussions about future options for internet conferencing, but on
balance there may be an advantage to allowing reef scientists to get
together occasionally to exchange ideas in a way that remains difficult
without personally contact. We are holding a Town Hall Meeting of
delegates at ICRS13 to discuss priorities and actions in relation to
climate change, and we would welcome ideas and proposals for this
Many of us would sympathise with the suggestions included in your list.
But we need volunteers willing to spend time working up detailed
proposals and assist us in implementing them (since all of us playing
roles in ISRS do so on a spare-time, unpaid basis). Let us know if you
have further thoughts!
Best to all,
Corresponding Secretary, ISRS
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
On 18/12/2015 12:28, Christian Jessen wrote:
> Dear Ove, Ruth, Rupert, Sue, dear list,
> the COP21 agreement hit me hard and your mail regarding the discussion
> only slightly touched essential questions and a future narrative for the
> community. I formulated some questions on reactions to COP21, ourselves,
> and future projects that, in my opinion, we as a coral reef community
> have to deal with:
> - why allowing 450 ppm when many reefs are already in deep trouble? Why
> don't we request immediate reductions?
> - why cheering for the COP21 agreement, when the INDCs rather point to
> 3-4°C warming? and free trade agreements and rising emissions are about
> to threaten the life of millions of people in the not so far future?
> - why not criticizing false solutions of the COP21 agreements for
> technologies that not yet exist (CCS) and non-binding reduction goals?
> - why letting thousands of scientists meet on a remote island whose
> flights will cause thousand of tons of CO2 emissions?
> - why not actively supporting the reduction of participants by providing
> web-sessions, audio-conferences, web-poster presentations?
> - why not actively calling (or oblige) for CO2 compensations for those
> who flight to Hawaii anyways?
> - why not actively supporting zero-emission accommodations for the
> - why not calling for less regular global meetings but for more regional
> - why not actively engaging the community to reduce their CO2
> footprints??? who if not the educated can set a sign for a sustainable
> way of life?
> - why not providing/collecting guidelines to the community how to avoid
> mid/long-distance conferences, field works, funding meetings or better
> stop flights at all?
> - why not running campaigns that transforms all (coral reef) institutes
> into green, zero-emission institutes that actively avoid fossil
> energies, set examples for their region and push society and politics
> into a sustainable direction?
> - why not link to the local and global climate movement and support them
> with knowledge and networks?
> How can we be credible if we are among the top per cent of global
> emitters (and that in the name of protecting nature!). How, if we
> dramatically exceed the value of 2 tons CO2 per capita per year that
> would allow everybody in the world a fair share of CO2 emissions? The
> time to act is now and we cannot allow to lose this fight. We are the
> ones with the knowledge, with the wealth, with the emissions, the ones
> who can and have to make a difference, but also the ones who have to
> change their habits. We should not be the ones that accompany the demise
> of coral reefs, we should take actions against it. Don't find excuses
> not to act, find allies and start acting!
> Am 17-Dec-15 um 12:22 PM schrieb Ove Hoegh-Guldberg:
>> Dear ISRS Members and Coral Listers,
>> We would like to thank all of you who assisted ISRS in our efforts to inform delegates to the recent Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) of the importance of the impact of ocean warming and acidification on coral reef ecosystems. This includes those of you who contributed to, or commented on, the text of our Consensus Statement; those who undertook or assisted in the work involved in translating it into four additional languages, those who distributed the Statement or passed it to national delegates, and those who signed our on-line petition.
>> Given our efforts, and the importance of coral reefs to all of us, it is with deep relief that we observe that the accepted text of COP21 adopts goals that closely align with our recent ISRS statement.
>> The clear messages in multiple languages from the coral reef community provided a very credible basis for influencing negotiators - and when taken with the messages from many other groups that were attending or lobbying the conference - played a very important role in obtaining the COP21 outcome.
>> Here is the accepted COP21 text that is critically important to coral reefs:
>> "Emphasizing with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties' mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C" (page 2). http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09.pdf
>> And here is what we had wished for through our ISRS Consensus Statement:
>> "The International Society for Reef Studies thus calls on all nations and negotiators at the Paris Climate Change Conference to commit to limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to no more than 450 ppm in the short-term, and reducing them to 350ppm in the long-term. This should keep average global temperature increase to less than 2°C (or 3.6°F) in the short-term, and less than 1.5°C (or 2.7°F) in the long-term, relative to the pre-industrial period. This would prevent global collapse of coral reef ecosystems and allow coral reefs to survive in perpetuity." http://coralreefs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ISRS-Consensus-Statement-on-Coral-Bleaching-Climate-Change-FINAL-14Oct2015-HR.pdf
>> Not a bad end of year present indeed!
>> Of course, the real work starts now. The current set of INDC pledges (for national cuts in carbon emissions)- if implemented - will still take us to 3°C or more of global warming. That would be disastrous for coral reefs and indeed most other natural and human systems. However, the enshrinement of a five year review and tightening mechanism (with a commitment to no slippage) offers a mechanism for increasing emission goals based on progress to target temperatures (keeping the pressure on governments as regards the importance of 1.5oC in the long-term).
>> Best wishes to everyone - we look forward to collaborating with you in 2016 and at the 13th ICRS in Honolulu where we will host events to discuss and chart a course for how our community can best contribute to this great mission.
>> With thanks and the season's greetings,
>> Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (Lead author, ISRS Consensus Statement)
>> Ruth Gates (President, ISRS)
>> Rupert Ormond (Corresponding Secretary, ISRS)
>> Sue Wells (ISRS Representative at COP21)
>> Coral-List mailing list
>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Dr. Christian Jessen
>> Marine Ecologist, Data-Scientist, GIS-Analyst, Environmentalist
>> phone: +49 (0) 151 16 92 10 46
>> mail: christian.jessen at posteo.org
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