Sunday, November 20, 2016

Julie Bishop signs Second Because the Ocean Declaration



Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sure has the gift of the gab with fine rhetorical statements on Australia’s strong targets (ahem), that presently commits the world to 4 degrees C or more of warming.

I caught up with her on Monday night of the second week of COP22 in a high level event at the French Pavillion. She was there with several other ministers to sign the second ‘Because the Ocean declaration’ to improve ocean and reef conservation efforts as part of the UNFCCC climate change process. (See details on signing the First Declaration in Paris at COP21 here)

She highlighted the Australian Government’s 2015 Reef 2050 plan, and $2 billion over 10 years to reduce water pollution affecting the Great Barrier Reef at both this event and later in her ministerial statement to COP.


Watch her full speech below:



The only problem is that scientists from the Australian Marine Conservation Society have said the Reef 2050 plan inadequately addresses the climate change threat to reef ecosystems. Scientists also say that not $2 billion, but $10 billion is needed in the next decade for watershed management to have even a hope of saving the reef.

At 1.2C of warming this year the reef suffered a massive coral bleaching. By the 2030's these events will be occuring nearly every year. The Great Barrier Reef  will not survive in a two degree world, and even in a 1.5C world it is likely to be greatly diminished.

Julie Bishop said Australia has the largest representative network of marine protected areas in the world, but a recent review set up under PM Abbott recommended changes to zoning use and boundaries for 26 of the 40 areas. Australia is likely to go backwards on zoning use and boundaries.

The event was significant in raising the profile of ocean conservation as part of the UNFCCC negotiations. The Second Declaration follows the First Declaration that was signed in Paris at COP21. Read a report of the event.

The current Australian Government is still supporting EXPANSION of the export coal industry, especially the Adani Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland, a climate carbon bomb if it is developed.

Increased coal mining for export and increased unconventional gas production is increasing shipping traffic through the reef that will further add to its destruction. The Guardian reports that currently, Australia is failing to protect Great Barrier Reef from shipping disasters, say lawyers.

Earlier this year the Government even censored a UNESCO report on how climate change was impacting tourism and national heritage sites in Australia (including the Great Barrier Reef)

Let’s get this straight, the best measures Australia could do to save the reef is to stop all new coal mines, and increase emission targets commensurate to our fair share.

Ocean Elder and former head of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Graeme Kelleher has been equally adamant that to save the reef, there must be no new coal mines, Adani's Carmichael mine must not go ahead.

Saying "A major global threat to coral reefs is climate change" is not congruent with support for expanding export coal trade.




Here is the Second Because the Ocean Declaration (PDF) in Full:

Because the Ocean has a critical role in the global response to climate change in the context of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, we reaffirm the principles and ideas contained in the first Because the Ocean Declaration in Paris at COP21.

Because the Ocean and the cryosphere’s interlinkages with climate change will be fully reviewed in the IPCC Special Report to be released in 2019, we would like to underline the importance of the further scientific knowledge that can be brought to light and that it can be critical for us policy-makers, to better understand, (1) in terms of mitigation: the biological interactions of marine biodiversity with greenhouse gas emissions and removals and the climate system, and (2) in terms of adaptation: the socio-economic and environmental implications of climate change impacts on the ocean. We look forward in this regard to the outcome of the scoping meeting for this report that will take place in Monaco in December 2016.

Because the Ocean is taking an increasingly central place in the global policy arena, we are encouraging UNFCCC Parties to consider submitting Nationally Determined Contributions that promote, as appropriate, ambitious climate action in order to minimize the adverse effects of climate change in the ocean and to contribute to its protection and conservation.

Because the Ocean plays an integral part in any long-term low-carbon strategy, we encourage UNFCCC Parties to include oceans in pre-2020 ambition and the Global Stocktakes. This could include considerations for mitigation and adaptation to climate impacts on ecosystems, livelihoods and economic activities that cannot be sustainable without a climate-resilient and healthy Ocean.

Because the Ocean and the Sustainable Development Goals require the urgent attention of governments and all stakeholders, we are committed to making the utmost of the opportunity to address climate and ocean interlinkages at the High Level UN Ocean Conference on the Implementation of SDG14 to be held in New York in June 2017.

Because the Ocean needs effective and urgent action from all non-State actors, we shall continue to foster and develop new bridges between governmental, intergovernmental and civil society initiatives and platforms working to address the role of the ocean both in the Global Climate Action Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Because the Ocean requires commitments to be transformed into concrete and ambitious action we emphasize the need to stimulate support for ocean-related projects, in line with the goals of the Convention and the Paris Agreement, through existing instruments.

The Declaration was signed by Prince Albert II of Monaco; Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau; Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands; Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia; Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden; Edgar Gutierrez, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica; Didier Dogley, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles; Paula Bennett, Minister of Climate Change Issues, New Zealand; Catherine Stewart, Ministry of Environment, Canada; Pablo Saavedra, Secretary of State for the Environment, Spain; María Amparo Martínez Arroyo, General Director of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico; Ramatoulaye Dieng, Secretary General, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal; Achmad Poernomo, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia; Carlos Rafael Polo Castaneda, Ambassador of Peru to Morocco; Françoise Gaill, National Centre for Scientific Research, France; Heraldo Munoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile.



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Sources:
Julie Bishop's speech at signing of Second Because the Ocean Declaration event:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckQ6pUWB51Q

Report of the high level Second Because the Ocean Declaration event and signing:
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop22/enbots/14nov.html#event-4

The Second Because the Ocean Declaration:
http://www.vardagroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BTO-2-FINAL_14Nov.pdf

$10 billion not $2 billion needed to Save the Reef (James Cook University)
https://www.jcu.edu.au/news/releases/2016/may/federal-election-last-chance-for-the-reef-jcu-scientists

Reef Plan inadequate on climate change say scientists (Australian Marine Conservation Society)
http://www.marineconservation.org.au/news.php/525/final-reef-2050-plan-an-improvement-but-still-falls-short-for-long-term-protection-for-the-reef

Australia likely to go backwards on zoning use and boundaries for 26 of the 40 marine protected areas. (SMH)
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/australias-marine-parks-under-threat-after-review-environment-groups-say-20160905-gr912v.html