NO BLUE, NO GREEN: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FATE OF THE OCEANS
by Silvana Rivella
MONACO. Waiting for the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland to be held from 2 to 14 December 2018 with the participation of a strong monegasque delegation , the 2nd Monte Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean announced the impressive list of celebrities who will serve as “Event Chairs” and “Co-Chairs” for the 2018 Gala of tomorrow 26 September, lending their names and support to the evening, to engage for the future of a sustainable ocean alongside the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Presided by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, a Head of State deeply involved with the protection of the environment and a global leader in the battle to save the ocean, and hosted by Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, renowned philanthropist and initiator of this event, the 2018 Monte Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean includes as Event Chairs, Madonna, Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody, Pierce Brosnan, Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant, Goldie Hawn, Eva Longoria, Olga Kurylenko, Robert F Kennedy Jr, Diane Lane and Chris Tucker. Madonna said: “Taking care of the planet is incredibly important to me, so I am delighted to be supporting HSH Prince Albert of Monaco and his foundation. The serenity and life of the oceans are under threat – we can make a difference now and should do everything possible to preserve it. The Monte Carlo Gala in September couldn’t be more needed to raise the money to help save our oceans.”
Event Co-Chairs, Toni Garrn, Alina Baikova, Constance Jablonski, Hailey Clauson, Karlie Kloss, Karolina Kurkova, Adriana Lima, Natasha Poly, Sara Sampaio, Shanina Shaik and Josephine Skriver have also joined the initiative to raise awareness on the necessity to take action in order to keep our ocean healthy. Toni Garrn commented:“We all have a responsibility to maintain the beauty and life of our planet. The oceans make up 70% of the earth’s surface, so it’s essential to do everything we can to preserve it. I look forward to supporting HSH Prince Albert of Monaco at his incredible gala at the end of September.” “The ocean is our lifeblood. Our living standards, our economy and even our health depends on it. However, pressures from climate change and marine pollution are putting our ocean under severe stress. I believe that there is hope, if we work hand-in-hand. Fundraising opportunities like the Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean are thus critical to pursue this long term action for ocean conservation” said HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. With an exceptional auction led by Simon de Pury, the proceeds of the Gala will support the Foundation’s priority marine programmes: plastic pollution, scientific studies on acidification, coral protection, marine protected areas, endangered species and innovative technologies. “Generosity and awareness are the keys to our future on this planet and to saving our ocean” said Milutin Gatsby. Last year, for its first edition, Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio was honoured with “The Award of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation” for his outstanding work to protect and preserve our shared planet.
The inaugural 2017 Gala also enabled the Foundation to implement 37 new marine conservation projects around the world and 2 programmes to fight against plastic pollution. With special performances to be announced shortly and an after-party hosted by Richie Akiva and 10AK, the 2018 Monte-Carlo Gala promises to be a spectacular affair and a rare opportunity to participate in a collective action to address a global challenge. As for the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland it will include the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, along with meetings of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), and the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). COP 24 is expected to finalize the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change under the Paris Agreement work programme (PAWP). A High-Level Ministerial Dialogue (HLMD) on Climate Finance is expected to be held in conjunction with COP 24.
Extreme fluctuations in the global environment are becoming more apparent and quantifiable, forcing nations to accept that climate change is no longer a theory, but a threat. Mitigating its worst effects is no longer a choice, but a lifeline. In particular, climate change is already beginning to harm marine ecosystems—threatening the health of the entire planet. Oceans comprise fully 70 percent of our planet—and provide some of the most vital mechanisms for mitigating climate change. Yet, the oceans are dying a slow death, thanks to massive poisoning by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, largely from land-based sources. As Earth’s largest carbon sink, the oceans remove some 30-40 percent of anthropogenic (caused by human activity) carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. But as emissions continue to rise, the oceans are being forced to absorb ever-larger quantities of CO2, generating devastating acidification. The 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP23”) was an international meeting of political leaders, non-state actors and activists to discuss environmental issues. It was held at UN Campus in Bonn (Germany) from 6–17 November 2017.
Reversing or slowing climate change is in the national interest of every country. Over the past years, multiple reports have warned that predicted temperature increases, rising sea levels, and changing weather patterns will have dire economic and security implications. The UN Secretary-General’s report, “The Road to Dignity by 2030”, underscored that sustainable development depends on arresting climate change. Among other things, it calls for all future infrastructure development must ensure “planet-friendly” development moving forward. The existential, borderless nature of the climate change challenge means that no single state or even select group of states can tackle climate change alone. It will require global collaboration with coordinated domestic efforts, and it will depend on real commitments from developing, not just developed countries states. These developments—and other multilateral initiatives—are documented in CFR’s new Global Governance Monitor, a comprehensive multimedia guide uses technology to track and analyze the major successes and failures in oceans governance. One of the underlying themes of the Monitor is that the fate of the planet rests in large part with the health of the world’s oceans. As the famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle reminds us, “No blue, no green.” Beyond this ambitious goal, there is much more to be done to save the world’s oceans from their current deterioration. Drawing from the recommendations of the Oceans Global Governance Monitor and from the final report of the Global Ocean Commission (GOC), the following three steps would be a start: 1) Improve sustainable fishing practices, both on the High Seas and in countries’ exclusive economic zones . 2) Extend Marine Protected Areas. 3) Toughen restrictions on plastics: our reliance on plastic has increased exponentially in the past century, with reports released suggesting that the oceans may contain around 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, or 269,000 tons.
Domestic policy should be implemented that enforces new, stronger restrictions on plastics production and disposal. Additionally, the Global Ocean Commission suggests that countries should restrict the production of single-use plastics, much like passing a ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores.These reforms, if agreed and implemented by UN member states, would help to restore threatened species, preserve marine biodiversity, and reduce the flood of pollution that now fouls once pristine seas. Important goals, all. But unless humanity finally takes the dramatic steps needed to stem the massive flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, both the blue and the green will fade to black.