Climate Adaptation Working Group Terms of Reference and Work Plan 2022
Background and Rationale
Climate change, which refers to the long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns, has become one of the most topical issues in today’s global community. Although climatic shifts may be natural, human activity has been the main driver of climate change in recent decades. The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting emission of carbon into the atmosphere has significantly contributed to the greenhouse effect and subsequent warming of the Earth.
This phenomenon can lead to a host of negative effects in the coastal and marine environments. Climate change impacts the marine environment largely through ocean warming and ocean acidification. These phenomena can also have localized negative impacts on the world’s coastal environments and communities. One of the most notable impacts of ocean warming on the coastal environment is sea-level rise. Sea-level rise has contributed to increased instances of coastal inundation in low-lying areas as well as saltwater intrusion on a global scale. Similarly, ocean acidification has led to the disruption of coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. Coastal erosion, habitat destruction and loss of ecosystem biodiversity are all being exacerbated by climate change. These negative effects are poised to continue unless measures are taken to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Global organizations such as the United Nations have proposed guidelines for undertaking national responses to climate change by way of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). According to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), the main objective of the NAP process is to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience; and to facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into existing policies, programs and activities within all relevant sectors. Another measure being explored in response to climate change is the Blue Carbon initiative. This initiative is geared towards supporting the sequestration of large amounts of carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and sea grasses. In this working group, we are interested in leveraging Ocean Observations in support of NAPs and Blue Carbon mapping.