Introduction: Applying a Human Rights Lens to the Ocean-Climate Nexus

By Elisa Morgera and Mitchell Lennan

“We have known that climate change negatively impacts on the marine environment since the 1990s. And we are increasingly aware of the role the ocean plays in climate regulation, although we are still unveiling the full extent, and the fragility, of the contributions of deep-sea ecosystems to climate change mitigation. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change on individuals and communities are increasingly understood as human rights threats and violations, and some climate change responses have been identified as threats to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including marine biodiversity.

On the one hand, the ocean has finally been officially placed on the international climate change agenda through a series of ocean-related decisions adopted at the United Nations Climate Conferences in 2021 and 2022, although it remains to be seen whether sufficiently ambitious and precautionary ocean-based climate action will be included in the commitments by Parties to the Paris Agreement…” 

Photo: Ehimetalor Unuabona & Maria Lupin

Related SDGs:

  • Reduced inequality
  • Climate action
  • Life below water