By Cundoko Aprilianto
MANADO, Indonesia, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Finally, after two years of effort to convince the world that ocean destruction is as much important as climate change effect, the World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Indonesia ended its session by issuing the Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD) on marine environmental protection on Thursday.
Representatives attend a session of the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia, on May 14, 2009. The ongoing World Ocean Conference ended Thursday's session with the issue of the Manado Ocean Declaration on marine environment protection. (Xinhua Photo)
The 21-point declaration was agreed in the conference as a roadmap to the next WOC meeting in Denmark's Copenhagen, and in the Kyoto Protocol and post-Kyoto Protocol talks.
Among the 21 points suggested in the declaration, the countries agreed to seek for long-term conservation, sustainable use and management of marine living resources and coastal habitats.
They agreed to reduce pollution of ocean, coastal and land areas, and to promote sustainable management of fisheries in accordance with relevant international agreement. They also were in one voice in promoting the Large Marine Ecosystem approach that enhances institutional and international cooperation among countries that share marine ecosystems and resources.
Many studies showed that climate change is affecting ocean temperatures, the supply of nutrients from the land, ocean chemistry, food chains, wind systems' shift, ocean currents and extreme events such as cyclones.
Meanwhile, the oceans play a major role in the climate system. The oceans are huge storehouses of carbon dioxide. Microscopic plants (phytoplankton) extract carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. Warmer ocean temperatures could produce increased numbers of these plants, which could reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Several times over the past century, scientists and environmental engineers have proposed spreading slurries of dissolved iron into the oceans in order to "fertilize" the waters and promote vast blooms of marine plants (phytoplankton). The phytoplankton consumes carbon dioxide as they grow, and this growth can be stimulated in certain ocean basins by the addition of iron, a necessary micronutrient.
However, research performed at Stanford and Oregon State Universities in 2007 suggests that ocean fertilization may not be an effective method of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. Ocean fertilization, the process of adding iron or other nutrients to the ocean to cause large algal blooms, has been proposed as a possible solution to global warming because the growing algae absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.
This process, which is analogous to adding fertilizer to a lawn to help the grass grow, only reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere if the carbon incorporated into the algae sinks to deeper waters
But, study on the ocean's function as the carbon absorber went on and many scientists believe that the ocean would help greatly to tackle climate change.
The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) said that experts estimate that up to 40 percent of the C02 entering the atmosphere was being cycled through the marine environment which played a crucial role in moderating climate change.
The World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) supported the claim by urging the world to save coral reefs, saying that a region harboring more than half of them were at risk due to "major environmental and human catastrophe."
The agency also warned that coral reefs would be disappeared by the end of the century if the world did not take effective action on climate change, resulting in 80 percent of declining ability for the region's coastal environment to feed people and the livelihood of around 100 million people would have lost or severely impacted.
Finally, after the MOD was declared, surely we hoped that it would be followed by other talks and not only talks. An immediate action is badly needed.