On the fourth day there was a session for policy makers and the press which consisted of a summary of the science findings from the symposium, and presentations on the potential socio-economic impact of ocean acidification and on engaging with policy makers. To better achieve this, in addition to the science outputs, a Summary for Policymakers is being prepared. HSH Prince Albert II not only supported the Symposium, but also addressed those present, recognizing the important scientific challenges of ocean acidification and called on climate change policy makers all over the world to recognize that CO2 emissions must be reduced urgently and drastically in order to prevent serious impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms, food webs and ecosystems.
Rather than alleviate the concerns that emerged from the meeting four years ago, the symposium brought home our worst fears about how serious the issue of ocean acidification is, and will be, as we continue burning fossil fuels. It was recognized that marine scientists of all disciplines must convince the climate change negotiators to take ocean acidification seriously, particularly in this important year when negotiations at COP-15  take place in Copenhagen in December. A suggestion from the floor that we produce a conference declaration, was widely supported.
The Monaco Declaration has been carefully crafted based on the symposium findings, and was launched on 30 January 2009, receiving wide media coverage. It has been signed by 155 of the conference participants. If you have five minutes, read it, if not read the extracts below:
Ocean acidification is underway … is already detectable … is accelerating and severe damages are imminent … will have socioeconomic impacts … is rapid, but recovery will be slow. … Ocean acidification can be controlled only by limiting future atmospheric CO2 levels.
Despite a seemingly bleak outlook, there remains hope. We have a choice, and there is still time to act if serious and sustained actions are initiated without further delay. First and foremost, policymakers need to realize that ocean acidification is not a peripheral issue. It is the other CO2 problem that must be grappled with alongside climate change. Reining in this double threat, caused by our dependence on fossil fuels, is the challenge of the century. Solving this problem will require a monumental world-wide effort. All countries must contribute, and developed countries must lead by example and by engineering new technologies to help solve the problem. Promoting these technologies will be rewarded economically, and prevention of severe environmental degradation will be far less costly for all nations than would be trying to live with the consequences of the present approach where CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to increase, year after year.
Fortunately, partial remedies already on the table, if implemented together, could solve most of the problem. We must start to act now because it will take years to change the energy infrastructure and to overcome the atmosphere’s accumulation of excess CO2, which takes time to invade the ocean.
Therefore, we urge policymakers to launch four types of initiatives:
An example to illustrate the intense effort needed:
To stay below an atmospheric CO2 level of 550 ppm, the current increase in total CO2 emissions of 3% per year must be reversed by 2020. Even steeper reductions will be needed to keep most polar waters from becoming corrosive to the shells of key marine species and to maintain favourable conditions for coral growth. If negotiations at COP-15 in Copenhagen in December 2009 fall short of these objectives, still higher atmospheric CO2 levels will be inevitable.
2. The overall goal for the 2009 (COP15) United Nations Climate Change Conference is to establish an ambitious global climate agreement for the period from 2012. COP stands for Conference of Parties and is the highest body of the United Nations Climate Change Convention consisting of environment ministers who meet once a year to discuss the convention’s developments. Ministers and officials from around 189 countries and participants from a large number of organizations will take part.
All publications, when completed, are available from http://ioc3.unesco.org/oanet/HighCO2World.html and can be accessed from the “Ocean in a High CO2 World” page of the portal www.ocean-acidification.net
IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.