Saturday, May 16, 2009

Countries big and small reach consensus to fight climate change

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post , Manado | Tue, 05/12/2009 2:02 PM | World Ocean Conference

International scientists and representatives from a number of civil society groups underlined Monday the key role the oceans have played in climate change, but acknowledged they lacked scientific evidence to push the world to accept oceans as carbon sinks.

Scientists from developed and developing countries were of the common view that oceans, proven scientifically to have stored much higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) than land or forests, were being severely affected by the worsening climate change. They warned the impacts, such as temperature rises, could cause rapid and large-scale release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Experts gathered at the Global Ocean Policy Day preparatory meeting, a sideline event at the World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Manado, also underlined the negative impacts that affected oceans were having on people living in coastal areas and those whose livelihoods hinged on the marine sector.

With such a crucial role, they vowed to table marine issues at any international climate meeting, particularly the UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December, boosting efforts by 80 ocean countries attending the WOC to adopt a declaration to push for the central role of oceans at international talks.

US World Wildlife Fund vice president of marine and Arctic policy Bill Eichbaum said there was no doubt climate change had negatively affected the oceans, as rising temperatures had caused, for instance, the melting of glaciers in the Arctic Sea and had raised world sea levels.

He added high temperatures had forced the release of greenhouse gases from oceans, pushing global warming to unprecedented levels.

"The world has no legal framework or economic system to cope with the possibility, which will cause chaos. That's why it's urgent that the UN tackle the issue," he said.

Raphael Bille of the IDDRI, a French think tank on climate change, said the groups could table the ocean issues by inserting them into the Copenhagen ministerial declaration or by appealing to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authoritative world body on climate change scientific research.

"Member states will ask the opinion of the IPCC for scientific basis for the role of the oceans in climate change," he said.

However, British scientist Christopher Tompkins, admitted there was insufficient evidence to conclude the oceans could be regarded as significant carbon sinks, discouraging the push to include ocean as part of UN mitigation programs.

"We should focus on an adaptation program rather than pushing oceans as carbon sinks," he said.

The Copenhagen meeting will discuss a new regime on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Bringing ocean issues to the UN talks is crucial for attracting global attention and funding from bilateral and multilateral agreements, with developing countries likely to get funding for their adaptation and mitigation programs in dealing with climate change impacts.

Director of US-based Center for Ocean Solutions, Meg Caldwell, said the world needed to act now and not wait for "perfect science" to support the drive.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Action declared at World Ocean Conference

Updated Fri May 15, 2009 3:48pm AEST

Seventy-five of the world's nations have adopted the so-called Manado Declaration on the final day of the World Ocean Conference talks in Indonesia. But the document was watered down after differences over the sharing of technology between developed and developing countries.

Presenter: Gavin Fang
Speaker: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian President; Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State; Peter Garrett, Australia's Environment Minister

GAVIN FANG: A song composed by Indonesia's President opened the final day of the World Ocean Conference. The Indonesian leader then urged conference delegates to create their own harmony on tackling climate change.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: We therefore have to ensure that ocean sensitive policies be incorporated into technology so that humankind's approach to the challenge of climate change may be comprehensive and wholistic.

GAVIN FANG: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't attend these talks but she sent a message by video.

HILLARY CLINTON: As we continue our efforts to address climate change we must remember that its effects can be seen not only in melting glaciers and dying coral reefs but also in damaged homes, falling wages, rising poverty, diminished opportunities.

GAVIN FANG: Indonesian officials say they're satisfied with the Manado Declaration which was adopted by 75 countries. There's no specific commitments in the declaration but countries have promised to do more to protect the world's oceans and work together to press for future climate change talks to give more consideration to marine ecosystems. Even getting that agreement required some negotiations, although Australia's Environment Minister played down talks of a split between developed and developing nations.

PETER GARRETT: We will be on the same page on what we agree are the critical and key issues to address. It's not just about writing things down and having a declaration, even though this will be a very important declaration, it's about making sure that we actually do the work together.

GAVIN FANG: What these talks have demonstrated is how difficult it is to get any kind of agreement on climate change and that should serve as a warning ahead of the critical talks in Copenhagen later this year.

75 Countries Adopt the Manado World Ocean Conference

Delegates from 75 countries agrees to adopt the Manado World Ocean Conference (WOC) on the agenda of the of the upcoming UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December this year.

''The UN to adopt the Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen is a road map stipulates that the MOD should compliment the UNFCCC in dealing with climate change talks," said Gellwyn Yusuf, Research Center in Chief on Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in Grand Kawanua Convention Center, Manado, North Sulawesi, Thursday, May 14, 2009.

The Adoption was agreed upon during a high ranking official and Minister meeting attended by head of delegation from 75 countries. UNFCCC is an international treaty on environmental issues, which primarily relates to climate change and reducing global warming. Currently, nearly 200 countries have ratified the convention, which was first enforced on March 21, 1994.

With headquarters in Bonn, Germany, the UNFCCC has so far organized 14 sessions of the Conference of Parties (COP) on climate change, including Bali in 2007, to discuss emissions cuts set under the Kyoto Protocol.

The protocol regulates a legally binding emission target of five percent to all annex I, or developed nations, by 2012. Emission cuts are currently being met through the management of the energy and forestry sectors.

Indonesian Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Freddy Numbery has said that Indonesia's 5.8 million square kilometers of sea could absorb around 245 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year.

The Manado Declaration draft has suggested inviting those managing adaptation programs to consider including provisions for funding so as to integrate coastal and ocean management into the context of climate change.

It also stresses the need to promote the transfer of environmentally sound technologies for oceans from developed countries to developing countries to help the latter mitigate the impacts of climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has to issue the first scientific report on oceans in relation to climate change in 2004.

Some of the countries which adopt the Manado World Ocean Conference such as Indonesia, Philippine, Thailand, Malaysia, Somalia, Suriname, Pakistan, Grenada, United States, Republic of Korea, France, India, China, Kampuchea, Angola, and Namibia

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the opening remark in Manado yesterday said that the ongoing World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Manado, North Sulawesi, should not yield a new process for dealing with climate change.

The president made the remark when opening the WOC 2009 at the Grand
Kawanua Convention Center (GKCC) here on Thursday morning. "We have to make it plain that what we are going to do at WOC is not producing a new process but instead strengthen and complete the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)," the
President Susilo added.

Susilo said, the maritime community wanted marine issues to be part of a
global solution to problems related to climate change which had been
under discussion.

"We have to make sure that sensitive marine policies will be be included in the new regime so that a humanitarian approach can be made to the climate change challenge, an approach that is comprehensive and holistic," he said.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono added that if the Climate Change Convention in
Copenhagen adopted such an approach and the international community applied it well, then mankind would have a better future.

"It is an important opportunity for us to make a momentous statement
for the future of our oceans, planet, and human race, a message that
can be heard out there beyond this convention hall," the President said.

He elaborated that the last time the world heard a political message from the
maritime community was during the signing of an international maritime law in 1982 which gave a dramatic change to the maritime system.

"Now is the right time for the world to listen to another important message that we can only be safe in the 21st century if we are united to protect our oceans," he said.

Meanwhile on the recorded remark, U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called to the delegates from more than 80 countries and international bodies, and Minister and other higher ranking official on The World Ocean Conference to do more to protect our oceans and preserve the long-term health of our planet and its people, and applauding Indonesia for hosting a conference.

Hillary Clinton said the health of the planet and the health of the oceans are linked. ‘’And today, our oceans are under stress from several sources: acidification and over-fishing, unconstrained development and pollution, and global warming,’ Clinton said.

A series of symposiums on science, technology and policy has also been held since Monday, bringing about 1,500 international scientists, climatologists, entrepreneurs and policy-makers to share the latest information, scientific knowledge and technologies related to the ocean from more than 80 countries. Ocean countries, most of which are developing nations, such as Indonesia, Philippine, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia attending the gathering in Indonesia's North Sulawesi provincial capital Manado to bring up the significance of oceans in climate change to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December, 2009.

The Copenhagen talks are expected to discuss a new regime to replace the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2012. The protocol requires developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "It is critical that we lay as much ground work as possible now to ensure a successful outcome in December. At the World Ocean Conference, you can help focus the world's attention on the link between oceans and climate change and advance global efforts to find science-based solutions to the problems we face," Clinton said.

The declaration is expected to table scientific support at the 31st session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, slated for Oct. 26-29 on the resort island Bali. The world's only authoritative body on scientific climate matters, the IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the U.N. Environment Program. It is now working on its fifth assessment report, including on the ocean, which is expected to be completed in 2014.

Meanwhile, delegation from China and Indonesia in the World Ocean Conference agree to form a newly organization call Indonesia-China Center for Ocean and Climate (ICCOC). The agreement was approving on the Signing of Memorandum of Understanding by Indonesian Research Center Body in Chief Gelwyn Yusuf and China Oceans Minister. Gelwyn said, the Cooperation on Ocean and Climate research in order to intensify the cooperation and communication on Ocean Science and Technology. The cost of the World Ocean Conference (WOC) and the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Summit in Manado, North Sulawesi, had been estimated at Rp380 billion Indonesian rupiah.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ocean's role on climate change mulled

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MANADO, Indonesia -- The role oceans play in countering climate change will dominate talks between environmental experts from 120 countries meeting in Indonesia this week.

The World Ocean Conference that opened on Monday in the northern city of Manado will shape the scientific debate ahead of final negotiations to replace the U.N. treaty on global warming in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.

The Kyoto Protocol, the most important document on climate change, expires in 2012.

Officials hope the meeting on Sulawesi island will boost recognition of the need to protect oceans and marine ecosystems that absorb carbon dioxide.

One of the gathering's main goals will be to create a permanent international forum to coordinate conservation attempts and counter the impact of rising oceans blamed on higher temperatures.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, will host a simultaneous summit of leaders from the Coral Triangle Initiative, a grouping of six Asian countries comprising one of the world's richest marine areas.

The three-day gathering will be attended by host Indonesia and leaders from Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and East Timor, whose territories boast 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 3,000 fish species.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ocean plays important role in absobing carbon

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 05/01/2009 11:15 AM | National

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi renewed calls on world leaders to pay serious attention to ocean issues when negotiating emissions cuts to help combat climate change.

"There is no reason to neglect ocean in discussions about emissions cut target as the ocean has also capability to absorb the carbon," he told reporters.

He said that total of carbon absorbed in ocean should be calculated under the clean development mechanism (CDM).

The CDM was part of the Kyoto Protocol commitment allowing developing countries to develop projects aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In turn, developed nations should provide financial incentives based on total emissions reduction.

Freddy said that Indonesia's ocean could absorb about 67 million carbon per year or equal with 245.5 million tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per year.

The CO2 was main contributor on global warming causing climate change. Under Kyoto, only carbon from energy combustion eligible for carbon trading.

Freddy, however, invited the world's researchers to determine whether ocean could be a carbon sink and sources.