Science Commentary questioning the over-emphasis in global policy discussions on 21st Century impacts of climate changePDF 1.55 MB (1.55 MB)
A new EMB Science Commentary questions the over-emphasis in global policy discussions on 21st Century impacts of climate change. ‘The ticking time bomb of climate change and sea-level rise’ Science Commentary (pdf) has been launched today, at the VLIZ Marine Science Day, in Bruges, Belgium.
The Commentary questions why global climate policy discussions focus predominantly on a time horizon that extends only to the end of this century. The short policy paper is based largely on a seminal review article published in Nature Climate Change in February 2016 by Clark et al. The authors argue that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activity will remain in the atmosphere and continue to affect the Earth’s climate for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Many of the resulting long-term impacts are now unavoidable. Sea level, in particular, exhibits a much slower response time than rises in air temperature. If we look 10,000 years into the future, it is proposed that even a modest emissions scenario will result in a global mean sea-level of rise of 28 m, causing inundation of many of the world’s most densely populated coastal cities and regions and displacing billions of people.
Advances in ocean and climate modelling mean it is now possible to look much further into the future and the picture that emerges for future generations is one of catastrophic climate change. This longer-term perspective tells us that the need to move towards complete decarbonization of the world’s energy systems is urgent. Put another way, decisions we make in the next 10 years could profoundly affect the next 10,000.
On 2 March, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and his Chinese counterpart embarked on formal talks linked to the “China-EU Blue Year” in Brussels. The aim of this initiative is to further cooperation and dialogue to promote innovation and ensure the sustainable development of maritime economies of China and the EU Member States. A number of dedicated events and exchanges will take place in both the EU and China throughout 2017.
On 3 March, the EMB Secretariat participated in a meeting with a delegation of officials from the State Oceanic Administration of China and the Chinese Representation to the EU. The visit took place in Bruges, alongside the VLIZ Marine Science Day. The meeting was also attended by representatives from EMODnet, the Danish Meteorological Institute and Ifremer. During the visit, the EMB Executive Director, Niall McDonough, welcomed the delegation and presented the work of the Board, as well as introducing some of the current activities. The interactions were very positive and duing the meeting, options for joint activities were discussed. A number of topics were also identified as possible areas for future joint Working Groups.
The programme and presentations from the meeting can be found here.
The EMB community is deeply saddened by the news that our esteemed friend and colleague, Professor Mário Ruivo, has passed away. Prof. Ruivo died peacefully at his home in Lisbon on 24th of January. He was 89 years old. Prof. Ruivo has for many years been an active Delegate of the European Marine Board, representing the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Intersectorial Oceanographic Commission.
Throughout his long career, Prof. Ruivo has been a champion of ocean issues. First and foremost, he was a biologist and oceanographer, an accomplished scientist and teacher. But he was also a gifted politician, and he put his political skills to use in promoting a greater appreciation of the ocean among the general public, and in advancing the political case for better management and governance of ocean resources.
Prof. Ruivo received many awards and honours for his work and held numerous leadership roles. Among others, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Fifth Portuguese Provisional Government in 1975, Secretary of State for Fisheries, Director General of Aquatic Resources and Environment with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (1975-1979), and Chairman of the National Commission for the Fund of the Nations (1974-1979). He also served with the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, both as its Executive Secretary (1980-1988) and vice-Chair (2003-2007). He was very active in developing and promoting cooperation in marine science at European level, notably through his long and active participation in EMB and EurOcean.
Prof. Ruivo leaves a significant legacy in bringing ocean affairs and environmental issues to the fore in political discourse both in Portugal and internationally. Everyone who knew him will remember his generosity of spirit, his integrity, his vast historical knowledge and his passion for the ocean. He will be greatly missed by an extensive international community of marine scientists and ocean advocates. But his life’s work and achievements will also be celebrated. We extend our sincere condolences to Prof. Ruivo’s family at this time.
The European Marine Board and EuroGOOS are working together to promote and develop a new framework for advancing Europe’s capacity for ocean observation. The European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) is a coordinating framework designed to align and integrate Europe’s ocean observing capacity, promote a systematic and collaborative approach to collecting information on the state and variability of our seas, and underpin sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources. An open consultation was launched on 12 December 2016 to collect views of the European ocean observing community and wider stakeholders and will be critical to inform any decision-making about a future EOOS. The survey is based on the EOOS Consultation Document, which provides further information on what EOOS is and why there is a need for such a framework. Both the consultation document and the stakeholder consultation are available through the EOOS webpage. The survey is open until 20 January 2017. Have your say now on the future EOOS!
Did you know that the great Greek philosopher Aristotle can also be regarded as "the father of marine biodiversity"? More than 40% of the animals he studied in his zoological works had a marine origin. In recognition of this important contribution to philosophy and science, UNESCO declared 2016 (the year of his 2400th birthday) as the "Aristotle Anniversary Year". Visit Lifewatch to learn more about how Aristotle's scientific contributions to taxonomy, ecology and species distributions link to current-day initiatives such as the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the European Lifewatch project (featuring Belgian and Greek contributions), the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and the European node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (EuoOBIS).
The 6th edition of Fórum do Mar, now known as Business2Sea, commences today in Porto. The central theme of Business2Sea 2016 is ‘Grow and Internationalise the Maritime Economy’ and the purpose of the event is to present results of the main maritime activity sectors in Portugal, with a focus on the northern region, as well as to facilitate networking, projects and business developments among the participants. The programme includes a celebration of National Maritime Day in the presence of the Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino. During this celebratory event, EMB Executive Secretary, Niall McDonough will provide an international perspective with a presentation addressing the main challenges that the ocean faces in the future; the main implications of these challenges in terms of technology and science, and; the main opportunities for economic development. Following Business2Sea, on 17 November, Niall McDonough features as a plenary speaker at the Campus do Mar International Science Conference 2016, where he will give a keynote address on ‘The ocean and human health: an emerging integrated meta-discipline’. The conference serves as a forum for presenting and discussing new research developments in marine science, technology and management. The theme of the conference is "Oceans: Future sustainability challenges", reflecting the growing understanding of the importance of ocean sustainability in crucial areas for human wellbeing, namely in the environmental, economic and social dimensions imperative for a better tomorrow.