Climate Change and the Ocean

-By Naomi Boon, a graduate of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholar at Emory, 2017-2018

The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, providing a primary source of protein for 2.6 billion people worldwide and supporting $2.5 trillion dollars of economic activity each year. Still, the ocean is often neglected when it comes to the disciplines of conservation and sustainable development, and dealing with climate change. In reality, 93% of the heat trapped by global warming is absorbed by the ocean, and ocean ecosystems are changing, in some cases, far more rapidly than terrestrial systems. Changing from an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude and taking immediate action to protect our ocean from the threat of climate change is now necessary. COP 23 raised awareness of the importance of ocean-climate and provided promise and hope for the future of our oceans.