Hundreds of events are being planned in more than 100 countries today to celebrate World Oceans Day.
The oceans produce half of the world’s oxygen and store one third of all carbon emissions stemming from human activity.
It is the largest carbon sink on the planet and therefore serves as a major ally in the combat against climate change. It also absorbs around 90% of excess heat accumulated in the climate system and contributes to its regulation.
However, according to the UN Framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), warmer atmospheric temperatures and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases exert a huge pressure on the ocean and threaten its ability to regulate the climate.
The theme for this year is “Our oceans, our future”, with the aim of reminding everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life, informing people about the impact of human actions and uniting them for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.
The UN’s conference is being centred around World Oceans Day, with the vital link between oceans and climate change among the issues at the forefront of discussions.
The UNFCCC states: “The oceans, which cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, play a major role in the global climate system, generating oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“Changes to the climate, brought about by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are leading to changes in the oceans, including sea-level rise and ocean acidification, which put marine ecosystems and coastal communities at risk.”