Increasing levels of man-made greenhouse gases are leading to global climate change with catastrophic long-term implications for the marine environment. Stopping the rise in temperatures is the most important and urgent task facing mankind and requires action by all industries, including marine industries such as shipping.

Rising temperatures will affect every aspect of the natural world and have profound impacts on the marine environment: effects will include changes to ocean circulation, changes in salinity and oxygen content, ocean acidification, changes in species (including commercial fish species) abundance, distribution and migratory routes, and of course sea-level rise. These will place substantial and in many cases unbearable additional pressures on marine ecosystems that are already heavily stressed by human activities. Human populations at the coast will be affected by flooding, and changes to weather patterns will lead to drought and widespread food shortages; the poorest parts of the world are likely to be affected most but all will be touched by climate change.

On the basis of work carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) many including the European Union have agreed that a rise in temperature of more than 2ºC is “dangerous”, and that policies should aim to contain the rise below that level. Seas At Risk believes that the risks associated with even a 2ºC rise in temperature are too great and that public policy should be substantially more ambitious. However, this will require a massive effort from all countries and all economic sectors, with those who contribute most to GHG emissions having the greatest responsibility.

Seas At Risk’s particular focus is the marine sphere and in addition to drawing attention to the marine affects of climate change we will be pushing to ensure that key marine industries, such as shipping, play their part in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and tackling the threat of climate change.

Seas At Risk is a member of Climate Action Network Europe. For more information on the fight to tackle climate change visit their web site.