Marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage believe the world only had 10 years to reverse the damage humans have inflicted on our planet. The organisation, based in St Agnes, has called on the UK government to ensure the ocean is at the centre of climate conversations at the 26th UN Climate Conference (COP26) which Britain will host in November in Glasgow.
The desperate call for the ocean and the environment to be the heart of the everything we do as a global human society comes as SAS’s latest Ocean and Climate Report highlights how the extent of the ocean and climate crisis has not gone largely unnoticed by the British public.
The survey revealed that people do not think enough is being done to tackle the climate crisis, as 99% of respondents agreed more action needs to be taken and 96% believe the government must take-action urgently.
Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage said that as we step into the United Nations Ocean Decade we are now left with only 10 years to reverse the damage humans have inflicted on our blue planet.
He believes that the coronavius pandemic is an opportunity to reset our attitude to the environment, the ocean, wildlife and truly start fighting climate change.
The call for the plight of the oceans to be on the agenda at the COP 26 summit this autumn, comes as many of our seas are being destroyed by deep-sea mining, unsustainable fishing and pollution which accelerate climate change and causing ocean temperatures and acidity levels to rise dramatically.
The charity believes the ocean has a crucial role to play in tackling the climate crisis. From seagrass meadows and kelp forests that lock carbon deep below the sea floor to ocean currents that regulate global temperatures, the ocean can provide vital solutions.
The SAS’s petition calls for the government to utilise the ocean’s capacity as a solution to the climate crisis, through increased investment in ocean rewilding and implementation of Highly Protected Marine Areas.
Mr Tagholm said: “Ocean ecosystems are not only on the front line of the accelerating impacts of climate change but also can become the front line of slowing and reversing runaway global heating. The ocean is the thermostat of the global climate system and must be urgently prioritised for action, as world leaders meet for COP26.”
He added: “The ocean provides us with a unique opportunity to remove human pressures and let nature do the heavy-lifting to combat climate change. Carbon-absorbing ecosystems can re-establish themselves to allow biodiversity to flourish and draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“Business as usual has failed both people and planet, and we’re now in a race against time to restore a thriving ocean, the life-support system we all depend on.
“We are in an Ocean and Climate Emergency and we call on politicians to move from rhetoric to action, from statements to solutions. We don’t have any time left to waste.”
To sign the Surfers Against Sewage petition visit https://www.sas.org.uk/ocean-and-climate-petition/