Giving Compass' Take:

• A landmark report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), explains the significant issue of ocean warming and recommendations for how to address it.

• How can this report help inform donors about next steps for action against ocean warming?

• Read about how donors can fund ocean conservation. 

For decades, oceans have served as the planet’s carbon garbage dump, soaking up 90 percent of the excess atmospheric heat generated since 1970 and a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. Now the 71 percent of the Earth that makes life on land possible has reached a frightening tipping point that threatens human existence, according to a landmark report issued Wednesday by the United Nations-supported Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.

The findings suggest severe consequences for both humanity and nature, according to Ko Barrett, the panel’s vice chair, who spoke at a press briefing on Tuesday. “This report highlights the urgency of timely, ambitious, coordinated and enduring action,” said Barrett, who is also the deputy assistant administrator of oceanic and atmospheric research at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “What’s at stake is the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and importantly, the world we leave our children.”

Even if greenhouse gas emissions magically ceased today, so much heat is already baked into marine ecosystems that the ocean would continue to warm, sea levels would keep rising, and acidification and deoxygenation would persist for decades to come, noted Nate Bindoff, a report author and oceanographer at Australia’s University of Tasmania.

The report comes as the ocean faces growing threats from overfishing, plastic pollution, and seabed mining. It also arrives at a moment when — despite lackluster global efforts to reduce carbon emissions — innovative new approaches are emerging to combat the effects of climate change in the oceans. And much of that work could be done on land.

Read the full article about why helping the ocean starts on land by Todd Woody at Grist.