Our understanding of the chemistry and physics of these processes is increasing and evidence is growing of the biological consequences of a declining seawater pH. The key is to communicate these findings to the policy makers and decision takers in such a way that the key messages can be received and understood and that action results.
Cooperation and communication are needed at all stages between the scientists and policy-makers. Scientists, by nature, are curious and look to answer the interesting and intriguing questions that will stretch the boundaries of our knowledge and understanding. This is good and laudable but in order to generate action to address the issues that threaten the oceans it is ever more important to distinguish between what we would like to know and what we need to know. Providing answer to the latter is what is required to make the connection between science and policy.
Where there is a large programme of work it is possible to make such a connection through the establishment of a Reference User Group that provides an interactive forum throughout the lifetime of the project where the researchers and the ‘policy customers’ can exchange ideas. This guides scientists to consider how their research can answer questions that need to be addressed to reach key policy decisions. Complex answers must be presented in an accessible manner whilst not detaching these from the underlying science. The UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Annual Report Card (ARC) is an example of how this can be successfully done and the 2009 ARC (publication in April) seeks to demonstrate the complex and linked relationships between various aspects of climate change, including ocean acidification, that policy makers must take into account.
IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.