New report outlines 5 ways the ocean can be used to reduce carbon emissions
A marine biologist from Saint John is among the international report's 19 authors
The world's oceans may be under siege as a result of climate change, but a Saint John-based scientist who contributed to a new international report says the oceans themselves can help turn the tide.
"We wanted to flip that approach because as a matter of fact we think the oceans and the coastal regions can be … part of the solution," said Thierry Chopin.
Chopin, a marine biologist at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, was one of 19 researchers to write the report The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change, outlining five ways governments can help fight climate change.
The report followed Wednesday's release by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, documenting climate change and its impact on the ocean and coastal communities.
The report prepared for the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy "offers the first comprehensive, integrated assessment of the mitigation potential of a suite of ocean-based activities," according to its foreword.
"Up to 21 per cent of the emission cuts could come from the five actions that we are recommended to take," said Chopin. "So we can meet the 1.5 C temperature rise not to exceed by 2050."
The report recommends using ocean-based plants to help reduce carbon emissions and lower the impact of climate change.
This would include growing seaweed, which would process carbon in much the same way as trees, or investing in mangroves, tangled forests of trees next to tropical waters that reduce erosion and guard against flooding.
The report also calls for a focus on renewable energy that can be drawn from the ocean, like tidal or wind power.
"We are talking tide, we are talking wind, we are talking currents, waves," said Chopin.
"It's harnessing this energy."
Chopin said the report also stresses the importance of eating a more sustainable diet.
This includes introducing more sustainable fishing practices, but also looking to the ocean more for food, instead of eating land animals which have a higher carbon footprint.
With files from Harry Forestell