COP22 in Marrakech: World climate talks get down to the nitty-gritty

Last December in Paris, more than 180 nations came together for the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015, also known as COP21. The resulting Paris Agreement is the strongest-ever international commitment to reducing global emissions of heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning.

The Paris Agreement enters into force today, just before the November 7 start of the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2016 (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.

COP21 signaled that the world’s nations agree: Climate change is real and having a serious impact on our planet. COP22 takes the next step—it marks the point at which the global community begins to act.

Continue reading COP22 in Marrakech: World climate talks get down to the nitty-gritty

Dispatch from the Woodstock of ocean acidification

At Monterey Bay Aquarium, we’re paying close attention to the impacts of rising carbon dioxide emissions on the health of the global ocean. Our award-winning Climate Interpreter, Sarah-Mae Nelson, attended the 4th International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World earlier this month on the Australian island state of Tasmania. Here’s her report from Down Under.

SMN at High CO2 symposium
Sarah-Mae Nelson, conservation interpreter for Monterey Bay Aquarium, gets jazzed for the symposium.

The acid jokes were inevitable. Like this one:

“Three hundred scientists fly into Australia. Australia says, ‘How you goin’?’ The scientists say, ‘We’re on acid.’  Australia sends them to Tasmania.”

Of course, the subject that brought more than 300 scientists, students and science communicators together for four days in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart is serious. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are affecting ocean health and wildlife, and our own survival, in profound ways.

The delegates came from all over the world—including China, Brazil, France, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Canada and Costa Rica—to share and discuss the latest research on the ocean’s response to rising CO2 levels.

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The CO2 A-list: 10 celebrities calling for climate action

Delegates at the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21, have spent the past two weeks negotiating an international agreement to slow the pace of climate change, which threatens the health of the global ocean– and our survival. With just one day left before the conference closes, we shine a spotlight on these Hollywood climate activists.

1. Don Cheadle, a global ambassador in the United Nations Environment Programme, participated in a U.N. campaign to raise public awareness of climate change. He’s also a correspondent for Years of Living Dangerously, a new National Geographic Channel series about climate change.

“I hope to use my celebrity to motivate people and contribute to moving our global society back from the brink,” Cheadle says. “What is more important than food and clean air? We need a big push.”

Continue reading The CO2 A-list: 10 celebrities calling for climate action

Another climate change video?!

We know, you’ve probably watched a few of these already. But with the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in full swing, we wanted to share with you a bit about how the ocean is affected by climate change, and why we’re following what’s going on at the COP21 conference so closely.

Hint: If you get through this video, you will be rewarded with cuteness.

 

 

A productive week in Paris

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we take a look at the highlights of COP21’s first week.


On the Sunday before COP21, more than 20,000 empty pairs of shoes — including, reportedly, those of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Pope Francis — filled the Place de la République in Paris in a symbolic call for a strong climate accord. (French officials banned a planned climate march in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks.)

That same weekend, an estimated 800,000 people took to the streets of more than 175 countries for the Global Climate March, organized by a coalition of environmental groups in anticipation of COP21. Their collective message, as described by 350.org: “Keep fossil fuels in the ground and finance a just transition to 100-percent renewable energy by 2050.”

Continue reading A productive week in Paris

California, a global climate leader

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, our guest blogger is California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird.


I’ve spent the better part of my life observing the sea and advocating for its protection. In recent years, a link has become clear between our human footprint on the environment, unusual weather patterns and ecological shifts due to global climate.

Just a few weeks ago, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season due to high levels of domoic acid, which stem from a large and persistent harmful algal bloom.

Continue reading California, a global climate leader

Marine protected areas: building climate change resilience

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the many ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we shine a spotlight on one of the ocean’s most powerful tools to weather the impacts of climate change.


The climate talks in Paris aren’t just about trying to prevent future catastrophe. They’re also about preparing for, and mitigating, the changes already underway.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary_NOAA
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an MPA off the California Coast. Greg McCall/ONMS

The goal at COP21 is to reach an international accord that will substantially cut the world’s carbon emissions, limiting global average temperatures to a 2-degree Celsius rise. But even if we achieve this best-case scenario, climate change will still have serious impacts on the ocean, including higher sea levels, warmer waters, shifting species distributions and ocean acidification.

Continue reading Marine protected areas: building climate change resilience

Let’s give the ocean a voice in climate talks

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world.  Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the many ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we offer some thoughts from National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle  and Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard on the critical role the ocean plays in human survival and the #OceanForClimate initiative.


Hard to imagine, but the ocean – the engine of life on Earth – has no voice in the current climate change talks in Paris. We can give it one.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is structured to address emissions of greenhouse gases within the territories of nation states. Despite the fact that the ocean is directly affected by rising temperatures and changing chemistry, it sits outside the conversation because it belongs to no nation.

COP21 logoIt’s an oversight with serious consequences – but an oversight each of us can highlight for world leaders. We can add our names to the #OceanForClimate petition organized by Mission Blue and its founder, Dr. Sylvia Earle, that will be presented to the negotiators in Paris.

By joining with scientists, citizens and ocean leaders around the world, we can help assure that the voice of the ocean will be heard, and the needs of the ocean will be addressed. It’s a matter of survival.

Continue reading Let’s give the ocean a voice in climate talks

COP21: A chance for a sea change

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In light of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, as the conference begins, the Center for Ocean Solutions highlights the integral links between climate change and our global ocean.


The ocean is the heart of our Earth’s climate system, pumping heat and moisture around the planet. It’s also an incredible climate change buffer. As we burn more and more fossil fuels, the ocean absorbs much of that extra heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

But that service comes at a cost. Sea levels are rising. Seawater is warming. And the ocean is almost 30 percent more acidic than it was 100 years ago. These changes are affecting much of the marine life people depend on: The ocean produces about one-sixth of the animal protein we eat and more than half the oxygen we breathe.

Continue reading COP21: A chance for a sea change

Mystery of the crabless Thanksgiving

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In advance of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we examine the complex ocean conditions making some crabs unsafe to eat.


The bowl of clarified butter is going to be so lonely with no steaming crab meat to dunk in it.

Local Dungeness crab is a traditional Thanksgiving indulgence for many West Coast families, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. But this year, Dungeness caught off the coast of California, Oregon and parts of Washington is off the menu.

Dungeness for sale
Dungeness for sale at Pike Place Market in Seattle (Flickr Creative Commons/jpellgen).

Officials in all three states have delayed the start of their commercial crabbing seasons because Dungeness crabs aren’t safe to eat right now. They’re contaminated with a dangerous toxin, called domoic acid, that’s the product of an enormous algal bloom along much of the U.S. West Coast.

Is this climate change in action?

 

Continue reading Mystery of the crabless Thanksgiving