Climate Feedback

Verbal exchange at major ocean conference

WOC logo.bmpThe World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia, opened yesterday with an appeal to the world to act on climate change now. Climate change threatens ocean ecosystems, food security and economic development alike, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said in his opening speech (Xinhuanet).

But when it got down to the political nitty-gritty agreement wasn’t easy to find.

Indonesia hopes that under a new climate agreement it might get credit (and funding) for protecting its vast ocean territory, reports the German Press Agency DPA.

The idea failed to impress scientists. “To get credit for preserving the ocean or avoiding deforestation is like getting credit for not beating your wife,” Tony Haymet, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, told DPA.

Scientists and officials from over 70 countries have come to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi for the five-day meeting, touted as the first major global talks on the role of oceans in mitigating climate change and global warming.

Cross-posted from Daniel Cressey on The Great Beyond


  1. Report this comment

    ArndB said:

    Indonesia was highly interested to get sovereign control over its archipelagos at the III. UN Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1973 to 1982, which it got. All of the water area between the islands (the archipelagic waters) is under the sovereignty of the state (Art. 2, Para. 1, UNCLOS, 1982). On the other hand it was made clear that this does not goes without responsibilities:

    Art. 192 (General Obligation): States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.

    Art. 193 (Sovereign rights of States to exploit their natural resources): States have the sovereign right to exploit their natural resources pursuant to their environment policies and in accordance with their duty to protect and preserve the marine environment.

    In this respect it might be reasonable to recall a Letter to the Editor of NATURE, Volume 360, 26 November 1992, page 292, saying:

    The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the earlier struggle for a Convention on Climate Change may serve as a reminder that the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea has its tenth anniversary on 10 December. It is not only one of the most comprehensive and strongest international treaties ever negotiated but the best possible legal means to protect the global climate. But sadly, there has been little interest in using it for this purpose. For too long, climate has been defined as the average weather and Rio was not able to define it at all. Instead, the Climate Change Convention uses the term ‘climate sys- tem’, defining it as “the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions”. All that this boils down to is ‘the interactions of the natural system’. What is the point of a legal term if it explains nothing? For decades, the real question has been who is responsible for the climate. Climate should have been defined as ‘the continuation of the oceans by other means’. Thus, the 1982 Convention could long since have been used to protect the climate. After all, it is the most powerful tool with which to force politicians and the community of states into actions.

    Much more can be said about this matter (see:

    From which this two quotations are taken ( see: F. This & That V):

    · „Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) ; “Water is the driver of nature“

    · Johann-Wolfgang v. Goethe, (1749-1832; ); From the drama Faust II, (Thales); „Everything comes from water. Everything is maintained through water. Ocean, give us your eternal power.“

Comments are closed.