The bank for a changing world

Contrasting futures for the ocean give a stark warning to governments ahead of Paris climate negotiations

  • 02.07.2015


The ocean moderates anthropogenic atmospheric warming at the cost of profound alterations of its physics, chemistry, ecology, and ecosystem services. The Oceans 2015 Initiative has published a paper in Science evaluating and comparing the risks of impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems and  the  goods  and  services  they  provide  under  two  potential  carbon  dioxide  (CO2)  emissions  pathways over this century. Jean­‐Pierre Gattuso, Senior Scientist at CNRS and lead author of the paper  says  “the  oceans  have  been  minimally  considered  at  previous  climate  negotiations;  our  study provides compelling arguments for a radical change at COP21”.

Atmospheric  CO2  has  increased  by  more  than  40%  over  the  industrial  period,  which  has  driven  a  series  of  major  environmental  changes.  Yet,  the  global  ocean  is  a  “climate  integrator’’  that  (1) absorbed  93%  of  the  earth’s  additional  heat  since  the  1970s,  keeping  the  atmosphere  cooler  but  increasing ocean temperature and rising sea level; (2) captured 28% of human-­‐caused CO2 emissions since 1750, but acidifying the ocean; and (3) collected virtually all water from melting ice, furthering sea-­‐level rise.




From moderate to very high risks

Ocean  changes  associated  with  a  stringent  emissions  pathway  —i.e.,  consistent  with  the  Copenhagen Accord’s goal of a global atmospheric temperature increase of less than 2°C by 2100— already  carries  high  risks  of  impacts  for  warm-­‐water  corals  and  mid-­‐latitude  bivalves.  The  risk  of  other impacts will remain moderate if we do not exceed this scenario. Higher emissions pathways, such as the business-­‐as-­‐usual path we are currently following, would greatly aggravate the situation: almost  all  marine  organisms  the  Oceans  2015  Initiative  team  considered  (e.g.,  corals,  pteropods,  finfish,  and  krill)  would  face  very  high  risk  of  impact,  such  as  mass  mortalities  or  species displacement. Likewise, the risk of impact on ecosystem services such as coastal protection (e.g., by oyster beds, coral reefs and mangroves), aquaculture, tourism and capture fisheries would become high  or  very  high  by  2100.  For  example,  substantial  declines  for  tropical  fisheries  are  projected  as  soon as mid 21st century, even under low-­‐emissions pathways. This study also shows that the policy options to address ocean impacts (mitigate, protect, repair, adapt) narrow as the ocean warms and acidifies, i.e. as the world moves away from the +2°C path. For example, one cannot manage coral reef  resilience  if  there  is  no  healthy  reefs  remaining.  Some  options  are  also  antagonistic,  for  example, solar radiation management could limit the increase in temperature but would reduce the incentive  to  cut  CO2  emissions,  thereby  providing  no  relief  from  ocean  acidification.  “Given  the  extent  of  the  expected  changes,  no  country  is  in  a  safe  position,  making  this  issue  a  worldwide problem  that  challenges  the  traditional  North/South  divide”,  said  Alexandre  Magnan,  scientist  at  IDDRI and coauthor of the paper.

Push to consider ocean issues at COP21

Four  key  messages  are  articulated.  (1)  The  ocean  strongly  influences  the  climate  system  and  provides  important  services  to  humans.  (2)  Impacts  on  key  marine  and  coastal  organisms, ecosystems,  and  services  from  anthropogenic  CO2  emissions  are  already  detectable  across  various  latitudes,  and  several  will  face  high  risk  of  impacts  well  before  2100,  even  with  stringent  CO2 emissions scenarios. (3) Immediate and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions is required more than ever to prevent massive and effectively irreversible impacts on ocean ecosystems and their services. (4) As CO2 increases, the protection, adaptation and repair options for the ocean become fewer and less effective.

Given  the  contrasting  futures  outlined  in  this  paper,  the  ocean  provides  further  compelling  arguments  for  rapid,  rigorous  and  ambitious  CO2  emissions  reductions.  Any  new  global  climate agreement that does not minimize the impacts on the ocean will be incomplete and inadequate.


Source: Gattuso J.-­‐P., Magnan A., Billé R., Cheung W. W. L., Howes E. L., Joos F., Allemand D., Bopp L., Cooley S., Eakin C. M., Hoegh-­‐Guldberg O., Kelly R. P., Pörtner H.-­‐O., Rogers A. D., Baxter J. M., Laffoley  D.,  Osborn  D.,  Rankovic  A.,  Rochette  J.,  Sumaila  U.  R.,  Treyer  S.  &  Turley  C.,  2015.  Contrasting  futures  for  ocean  and  society  from  different  anthropogenic  CO2  emissions  scenarios. Science.

For editors: The Oceans 2015 Initiative was launched to provide COP21 negotiators with key information on how the  future  ocean  will  look  like.  It  is  led  by  CNRS-­‐UPMC  and  IDDRI  and  is  supported  by  the  Prince  Albert  II  of  Monaco  Foundation,  the  Ocean  Acidification  International  Coordination  Centre  of  the International Atomic Energy Agency, the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Monégasque Association for Ocean Acidification.

Special  Notes  to  Reporters:  Photographs  and  an  animated  movie  are  available  here. More information, including a copy of the paper, can be found online at the  Science  press  package.  You  will  need  your  user  ID  and  password to access this information. Alternatively, contact the Science press package team at +202-­‐326-­‐6440 or scipak [at] aaas (dot) org.


About CNRS

The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) is the main public  organization  in  France  and  Europe,  under  the  responsibility  of  the  French  Ministry  of  Education and Research. Founded in 1939, CNRS has the following missions: (1) Valuate and carry out all research capable of advancing  knowledge  and  bringing  social,  cultural,  and  economic  benefits  for  society.  (2)  Contribute to the application and promotion of research results. (3) Develop scientific information. (4)  Support  research training.  (5)  Participate in  the  analysis  of  the  national  and  international  scientific climate and its potential for evolution in order to develop a national policy. As the largest fundamental research organization in Europe, CNRS carried out research in all fields of knowledge,  through  its  ten  institutes,  including  the National  Institute  for  Earth  Sciences  and  Astronomy (INSU). CNRS encourages collaboration between specialists from different disciplines in particular with the university  thus  opening  up  new  fields  of  enquiry  to  meet  social  and  economic  needs.  CNRS  has  developed  interdisciplinary  programs  which  bring  together  various  CNRS  departments  as  well  as other research institutions and industry.


The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) is a non-­‐profit policy research institute based in Paris. Its objective is to determine and share the keys for analyzing and understanding  strategic  issues  linked  to  sustainable  development.  IDDRI  helps  stakeholders  in  deliberating on global governance of the major issues of common interest: action to attenuate and adapt to climate change, to protect biodiversity, to enhance food security, to manage urbanisation, to  protect  the  oceans,  to  enhance  new  prosperity  forms  and,  more  generally,  to  reframe  development  pathways.  As  a  non-­‐profit  research  institution  acting  for  the  common  good,  the institute posts all of its

About UPMC
UPMC  is  the  direct  heiress  of  the  Faculty  of  Science  of  the  Sorbonne.  It  is  the  leader  in  France  in  science  and  medicine.  Research  at  UPMC  extends  from  fundamental  to  applied  and  mobilizes  all areas of knowledge. The university explores the major issues of sustainable development in health, climate  change,  water,  biodiversity,  energy  and  communications.  UPMC  is  a  key  player  in  the  development of knowledge and innovation: it supports the research results with the SATT Lutech, Agoranov (incubation of start-­‐ups) and Quadrivium (venture capital). It has exceptional institutes in vision, neuroscience, degenerative diseases, heart diseases related to metabolism, immunology and infectious  diseases,  cancer  and  public  health.  UPMC  is  also  a  part  of  the  Sorbonne  University  community  institutions.  With  the  perspective  of  COP21,  Sorbonne  University  and  UPMC  organize throughout the year 2015 various events (seminars, conferences...) whose central theme is climate. 2,000 research professors, researchers, PhD students and engineers work in the field of environment and climate at Sorbonne University and have expertise to share. SU and UPMC thus prepare in their own way the COP21.
Key numbers:
33,909 students, 6,208 researchers and teacher-­‐researchers, 100 research laboratories
No 1 University in France;  No 6 University in Europe and No 4 in the world for mathematics in the Taiwan & Shanghai rankings

About Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

In June 2006, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco decided to set up his Foundation in order to address the  alarming  threats  hanging  over  our  planet’s  environment.  The  Prince  Albert  II  of  Monaco  Foundation  works  for  the  protection  of  the  environment  and  the  promotion  of  sustainable development.  The  Foundation  supports  projects  in  three  main  geographical  regions:  the  Mediterranean Basin, the Polar Regions and the Least Developed Countries. The Foundation’s efforts focus  on  three  main  sectors:  Climate  change  and  renewable  energies,  biodiversity,  and  integrated  and  sustainable  water  management  together  with  the  fight  against  desertification.  In  the  area  of climate  change  the  Foundation  supports  action  related  to  energy  efficiency  and  the  fight  against  deforestation. It also explores emerging issues such as the link between the ocean and the climate, and  more  particularly  ocean  acidification,  blue  carbon  and  the  role  of  marine  protected  areas  in  adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

About OA-­‐ICC

Developed  by  the  International  Atomic  Energy  Agency  (IAEA)  and  supported  through  its  “Peaceful  Uses  Initiative”,  the  Ocean  Acidification  International  Coordination  Centre  (OA-­‐ICC)  works  to communicate,  promote  and  facilitate  global  actions  in  a  changing  ocean  world,  while  involving  all  ocean acidification actors and stakeholders (scientific community, policy makers, media, and general public).

About la Fondation BNP Paribas
Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been playing a key role in corporate philanthropy for 30 years. It is also encouraging and contributing to the BNP Paribas’ philanthropic policy growth in all parts of the world where the Group does business.
The  BNP  Paribas  Foundation’s  activities  are  aimed  at  promoting  innovative  projects  dedicated  to  culture, social inclusion and the environment. It is paying close attention to provide optimal support to its partners, through a long-­‐term commitment. Dialogue, loyal support and a relationship based on trust are the hallmarks of its involvement.
Since it was set up in 1984, more than 300 cultural projects, 40 scientific research programmes and around  one  thousand  social  and  educational  initiatives  have  benefited  from  its  support,  in  France  and across the world.

About the Climate Initiative programme

The BNP Paribas Foundation is providing assistance to SUBGLACIOR as part of the Climate Initiative, a corporate philanthropy programme for research into climate change launched by the Foundation in 2010, in close liaison with the BNP Paribas Group CSR department. A total of ten climate change research  projects  have  received,  or  are  currently  receiving,  financial  support  under  the  Climate  Initiative.

About AMAO

The  Prince  Albert  II  of  Monaco  Foundation  was  the  instigator  of  the  Monegasque  Association  for  Ocean  Acidification  (AMAO;  Association  Monégasque  pour  l’Acidification  des  Océans).  Its  actual establishment  was  publicly  declared  by  HSH  the  Sovereign  Prince  during  his  speech  on  3rd  December  2013  on  the  occasion  of  the  Ocean  Acidification  International  Reference  User  Group meeting.  The  goals  of  the  AMAO  are  to  communicate  on,  promote  and  facilitate  international  actions on ocean acidification and other global stress factors affecting the marine environment. The AMAO  is  committed  to  homogenise  communication  between  the  various  institutions  working  in  Monaco  to  combat  ocean  acidification:  the  Prince  Albert  II  Foundation  and  the  Government  of Monaco,  the  Environmental  Laboratories  of  the  International  Atomic  Energy  Agency,  the  Monaco  Scientific Centre and the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco. Moreover it comprises representatives of  the  International  Union  for  Conservation  of  Nature  and  the  CNRS,  French  National  Research  Centre.


Press contact(s)

BNP Paribas Foundation: Florence Bardin - florence.bardin [at] agencef (dot) com - +33 6 77 05 06 17


CNRS : Julien Guillaume - julien.guillaume@cnrs-­‐ - +33 1 44 96 46 35


UPMC : Claire de Thoisy-Mechin - mechin [at] upmc (dot) fr">claire.de_thoisy-mechin [at] upmc (dot) fr - +33 1 44 96 46 35


IDDRI : Delphine Donger - delphine.donger [at] iddri (dot) org - +33 6 22 70 05 65


Scientific contacts:

Jean-­‐Pierre Gattuso - gattuso@obs­‐ - +33 4 93 76 38 59

Alexandre Magnan - alexandre.magnan [at] iddri (dot) org - +33 6 50 81 39 27