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Protecting 30 Percent of the Ocean is Key to Reducing the Impacts of Climate Change

Today’s UN special report on ocean and cyrosphere makes it very clear how human and natural communities will be affected by the impacts of climate change.

Today’s UN special report on ocean and cryosphere makes it very clear how human and natural communities will be affected by the impacts of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), report shows we are exploiting our fisheries faster than they can be renewed, and if global warming moves from 1.5°C to 2°C above pre industrial levels, worsening of extreme weather, rising sea levels and loss of ­biodiversity—will be exacerbated.

The Campaign for Nature has issued the following response:

Enric Sala, Explorer In Residence for the National Geographic Society

“Ocean life is in deep trouble. However, scientists, policymakers, and conservationists from around the world are uniting behind a clear plan of action: we must protect 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. Currently, only seven percent of the ocean has been designated or planned as protected areas, but only 2.3 percent is fully protected from fishing and other destructive activities.”

“As the latest IPCC report makes clear, this is a global problem, which requires action by everyone– countries, companies, and civil society – to solve. Inaction means the collapse of our life support system, with catastrophic consequences for human society.”

“It is important that we focus on conserving the areas that are the most important for biodiversity so the ocean can continue providing benefits that are essential to our survival - like oxygen, food, and climate regulation.”

Brian O’Donnell, Director, Campaign for Nature

“Climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin and we must address both crises aggressively, across all sectors, and with a sense of purpose. It is still possible to stay at 1.5°, just as it is still possible to safeguard the world's oceans and restore depleted marine areas. But without significantly accelerating the pace and scale at which nations are protecting the ocean, we risk failing at both.”

“On a global level it is vital that we establish new marine protected areas. Protecting nature is critical to the global effort to combat climate change and vice versa.”

“By urgently protecting habitats,and increasing financial commitments to conservation, we can help address the crisis facing nature. Scientists have shown us what is at stake and have given us a path forward. Now it is up to us to act as a global community.”

Learn more about the Campaign for Nature and the effort to protect at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030 at

For Campaign for Nature interviews and quotes, please contact:

Kirsten Weymouth

National Geographic Society +1 703.928.4995

Greg Zimmerman Wyss Campaign for Nature +1 847.848.2881

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About The National Geographic Society

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