The European Commission today released its proposals for an EU stance at the forthcoming Copenhagen United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting.

The document recognises that maritime transport is a large and rapidly growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and that it should now be included in the international climate change framework. It goes on to say that “as part of the Copenhagen agreement the UNFCCC should set targets for reducing the climate impact of [shipping] below 2005 levels by 2020, and significantly below 1990 levels by 2050.”

Today’s agreement by EU leaders on the most contentious aspects of the EU’s planned response to climate change, known as the climate and energy package, has been condemned as a failure by environment groups who are calling for the Parliament to reject it.

Green and development groups described today’s deal on the Effort Sharing law (which sets national emission targets for sectors not included in the EU’s emissions trading) as inconsistent with the EU’s long-standing target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Last week´s annual meeting of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission has failed to take the steps necessary to protect high seas deep-water ecosystems and missed the UN General Assembly deadline for introducing protection measures.

A one day Seas At Risk conference on Climate and the Oceans ended today with a clear and urgent signal to the shipping & fishing industries that they must do more to reduce their GHG emissions and help tackle climate change.

The conference heard a series of scientists describe how climate change was impacting on the marine environment. They included Dr Keith Brander and Prof. Jürgen Willebrand, both lead authors for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent 4th Assessment Report.

The Seas At Risk "Climate & Oceans" conference took place in Brussels on the 5th November 2008. The speakers drew the attention of the public to the marine impacts of climate change and the mitigation challenges facing the fishing and shipping industries.

The potential impacts of climate change on the environment are serious and relatively well-known, but the specific impacts on the marine environment seem to have a lesser hold on the minds of the public and decision makers.

The Seas At Risk "Climate & Oceans" conference took place in Brussels on the 5th November 2008. The speakers drew the attention of the public to the marine impacts of climate change and the mitigation challenges facing the fishing and shipping industries.

The Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation last week described the impacts of climate change as an “Orwellian” prospect, but failed to convince developing nations of the need for IMO action on greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Good Environmental Status (GES) is the key concept of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. By 2020, Member States must take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain GES in their marine waters. The Directive foresees 11 descriptors of GES, with which Member States will have to comply.

Seas At Risk has been involved in the negotiation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) since the beginning. With its entry into force, SAR's efforts have shifted to its implementation process.

It is generally acknowledged in the academic and NGO world that small-scale fisheries are for the most part more sustainable than industrial-scale fisheries; unfortunately they have been forgotten and their potential ignored as policy-makers have struggled to make industrial fisheries more sustainable.

The International Maritime Organisation's Antifouling System Convention entered into force today, some seven years after its adoption.

The Convention, which bans the use of Tributyltin (TBT) based antifouling paints globally, and contains a regime for restricting the use of other harmful antifouling paint technologies, met the requirement of ratification by 25 States representing 25% of the world's shipping tonnage last year. The Convention was adopted in London in October 2001 but the ratification process has been slow with the first of the large flag States (Panama) only ratifying in 2007. The Convention has now been ratified by 34 States representing 53% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage.