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The Treaties - 32 - Protecting the Sea from Global Atmospheric Changes


1. The stratospheric ozone layer is the Earth's primary shield against damaging solar ultraviolet-B radiation, which affects marine plankton, the basis of nearly all marine productivity, and many other marine species.

2. Manufactured chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroy stratospheric ozone. Although the London amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will accelerate the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, emissions and damage to the ozone layer will increase for decades.

3. Fossil fuel burning and deforestation increase atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the lowest layer of the atmosphere. This will cause global warming and other changes, including changes in storm tracks, rainfall patterns, changes in ocean currents, occurrence of upwelling (both distribution and periodicity), all of which will influence marine productivity and the balance of coastal ecosystems.

4. Another important consequence of the climatic changes is sea level rise, which will dramatically affect these coastal areas, especially in those developing countries that have large populations living in coastal areas and that lack both the technology and the financial resources to cope with the rising sea.


5. It is preferable to prevent increases of ozone-depleting chemicals and greenhouse gases than to deal with the consequences of such increases.

6. Sea level rise, caused by greenhouse gases, is primarily the responsibility of the developed countries, who should bear the related social, economic and environmental costs since they produce most of these gases.

Action Plan

NGOs should:

7. Urge the creation of an international fund, based on the contributions of each country - to be proportional to the amount of greenhouse gases each produces and to be managed by the United Nations (UN). This fund will be used to finance projects and provide assistance to poor and less developed regions affected by sea level rise.

8. Urge nations to strengthen the Montreal Protocol by negotiating a sharply accelerated phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances.

9. Urge all industrialized nations to set specific target dates and levels for stabilizing and reducing emissions and atmospheric additions from land use of carbon dioxide and all other greenhouse gases, with the aim of capping them at 1990 levels and reducing them by 20% by 2005.

10. Promote energy conservation, reforestation and the end of the use of substances that deplete stratospheric ozone, as ways of slowing atmospheric changes that harm marine species and ecosystems.

11. Help governments set up marine monitoring efforts as a means of detecting warming and other problems related to global atmospheric change.

Commitment of Resources

NGOs should:

12. Initiate regional workshops, with assistance from international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in order to exchange and share scientific information and procedures to deal with environmental problems.

13. Form an electronic network to share information. This will be organized by NGOs with computer technical support and should include programs to train and assist NGOs in less developed countries.

14. Develop a complete list of NGOs with names of contact persons and areas of interest and expertise, organized by region, to encourage regional network-building and meetings.

15. Initiate a newsletter among ourselves to inform each other of actions taken to implement this NGO treaty.


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