Emergency resolution on avoiding disastrous and unmanageable climate change and ocean acidification impacts by returning atmospheric CO2 concentrations to below 350 parts per million while it is still possible to do so:
- RECOGNIZING NASA’s confirmation (27 August 2012) that Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a new low in the era of detailed satellite observations as further evidence that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) have already exceeded their safe planetary boundary;
- CONCERNED that climate system inertia is masking the true impact of current CO2 levels and the amplifying feedback effects they are already starting to generate;
- ALARMED that their combined impacts will include unstoppable disintegration of sea ice, ice-sheets and mountain glaciers with resultant dangerous sea level rise and greatly reduced freshwater supplies; thawing and release of frozen carbon and methane hydrates; ocean acidification; shifting climate zones; extreme weather events and mass biodiversity extinctions with profound consequences for humanity;
- RECOGNISING that the essential mitigation actions are a linear phase-out of coal emissions by 2030; avoiding emissions from ‘hard to reach’ conventional oil and gas reserves, avoiding emissions of oil shale, tar sands and other unconventional fossil fuels and reducing current atmospheric CO2 concentrations to below 350 parts per million (ppm), especially through reversing the destruction and degradation of natural habitats and the negative net impact of agricultural practices;
- FURTHER RECOGNISING that the fate of biodiversity and humanity is dependent on these dangers and mitigation imperatives being acknowledged and effectively addressed;
Therefore, REQUESTS all WAZA members to:
- Actively reduce CO2 emissions wherever possible and, where it is not possible, to compensate for via best practice habitat support initiatives.
- Call on world leaders to avoid disastrous and unmanageable climate change and ocean acidification impacts by implementing the essential mitigation actions detailed in this emergency resolution for curtailing further growth of CO2 emissions and returning atmospheric CO2 concentrations to below 350ppm while it is still possible to do so.
- Prioritise awareness raising and visitor engagement focus on these threat and response issues.
Supporting information to emergency WAZA resolution 67.2
- WAZA statements and resolutions Climate change has been addressed principally by RES 49.1 at the 49th Annual Conference held in Sao Paulo, 1994, by RES 61.4 at the 61st Annual WAZA Conference, held in Leipzig, 2006 and the pre COP-15 communication to world leaders, via UN Secretary General in December 2009; (WAZA Climate change position statement and supporting resolution 65.1 at the 65th annual WAZA conference, 22 October 2010)
- NASA (27 August 2012) Arctic sea ice shrinks to new low in satellite era
- National Snow and Ice Data Center (NISDC) August 27 2012 Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
- AMAP, 2011. Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA): Climate Change and the Cryosphere. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway. xii + 538 pp. With briefing video
- Arctic summer sea ice tipping point. 2011 Video briefing featuring Dr’s Ted Scambos, Robbie Macdonald, Don Perovich, Mark Serreze and Vladimir Romanovsky.
- Anthony et al (2012) Geologic methane seeps along boundaries of Arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers. Nature Geoscience 5: 419-426.
- Barnosky et al (2012) Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere. Nature 486: 52-58.
- DeConto et al (2012) Past extreme warming events linked to massive carbon release from thawing permafrost. Nature 484: 87-91.
- Duarte et al (2012) Abrupt Climate Change in the Arctic. Nature Climate Change 2: 60–62.
- Hansen et al (Submitted) Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect young People and Nature. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
- Hansen et al (2011) Earth’s energy imbalance and implications Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 13421-13449
- Kort et al (2012) Atmospheric observations of Arctic Ocean methane emissions up to 82° north. Nature Geoscience
- Koven et al (2011) Permafrost carbon-climate feedbacks accelerate global warming. PNAS
- Isaksen, et al (2011), Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 25, GB2002
- Veron, J.E.N. (2011) Ocean Acidification and coral reefs: An emerging big picture. Diversity 2011, 3, 262-274
- An Iterative Reference List of Climate Change Science, Policy & Related Information. World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Zoological Society of London and IUCN’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and Climate Change Specialist Group.