Organized in 1870 to Promote the Conservation, Development and Wise Utilization of Fisheries

IAMSLIC and other marine and aquatic science organizations throughout the world join forces with the American Fisheries Society (AFS) to sound the alarm in response to climate change.

September 14, 2020

Download PDF Version of the World Climate Statement

IAMSLIC Agreement Letter

Brief excerpt:

Statement of World Aquatic Scientific Societies on the Need to Take Urgent Action against Human-Caused Climate Change, Based on Scientific Evidence

Water is the most important natural resource on Earth as it is vital for life. Aquatic ecosystems, freshwater or marine, provide multiple benefits to human society, such as provisioning of oxygen, food, drinking water, and genetic resources; regulation of atmospheric composition and climate; water purification; storm buffering; mitigation of floods/droughts; recreation areas; and other purposes. Our existence and well-being depend on the health and well-functioning of aquatic ecosystems. People naturally distribute around water—approximately 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 km (62 mi) of a coast.1

The world’s aquatic resources are now under their greatest threat in human history. Human-caused climate change is accelerating the degradation of aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide. Aquatic ecosystems are among the most affected worldwide (e.g., in case of freshwater ecosystems, one measure of biodiversity, the freshwater living planet index for species populations, declined 83% from 1970 to 2014, while up to 90% of coral reefs will disappear by mid-century if the current trends continue).2

We, the world’s aquatic scientists, spend our lives studying these systems. We see exceptional and disturbing changes in the world’s aquatic ecosystems due to climate change and believe that we must continue to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public and policymakers to emphasize the seriousness of this threat and the need for immediate action. For the first time, the assessment of global risks conducted by the World Economic Forum ranked the impact of “climate action failure,” “biodiversity loss,” and “water crisis” among the top five risks over the next decade.3 In recent years, migration has increased and geopolitical tensions have been exacerbated: between 2008 and 2016, more than 20 million people per year have been forced to move due to extreme weather events, while according to the United Nations, in 2017, water was a major conflict factor in 45 countries.3 These negative effects are expected to increase under current climatic trends. For example, in the United States, the climate-related economic damage is estimated to reach 10% of the gross domestic product by the end of the century.3 In Europe, the minimum cost of not adapting to climate change is estimated at €100 billion per year in 2020 and €250 billion in 2050.4

To read more download PDF version of the World Climate Statement

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