The following comments were released by: Jason Patlis, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Marine Conservation Program; and Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium: 

From Jason Patlis, Executive Director of WCS’s Marine Conservation Program: 

With today’s release of the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), international leaders are confronted by the stark and immediate consequences of failing to adequately address greenhouse gas emissions, as they impact the oceans. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) endorses the findings and conclusions of the report. 

“Headquartered in New York with a presence in nearly 60 countries and across the world’s oceans, WCS has already seen these impacts firsthand affecting the communities where we work and the wildlife and wild habitats we seek to protect. 

“Coastal flooding and inundations due to sea level rise, and increasing severity of storms, affect the most vulnerable countries where we work, in Melanesia, South and Southeast Asia, and countries along both the Indian and Atlantic coasts of Africa. Climate change respects no borders, and we see these same impacts right here in the coastal communities of New York. 

“Warming temperatures are profoundly impacting the ocean, especially coral reef systems, which have been subject to more frequent and extended bleaching events, severely weakening or killing coral reefs.  Warming temperatures are also affecting migratory patterns of marine species, impacting human dependence on fisheries that are affected.

“WCS is committed to complementing the work of the IPCC with its own research. WCS’s Marine Conservation Program, for instance, leads a global coral monitoring study to ascertain the extent of bleaching events and is analyzing socio-ecological impacts as a result.  Under the Vibrant Oceans Initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, WCS is also leading an aggressive conservation strategy to protect some of the most resilient coral reefs across the Western Indian Ocean, the Coral Triangle, and Melanesia.”


Said Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the WCS New York Aquarium:

“WCS commends the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for leading the way in groundbreaking studies on one of the most urgent threats to natural world, and today’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate is part of that continued effort.

“Here in New York City, WCS’s New York Aquarium is doing its own part to inform the public about a changing world, specifically by working to educate its 800,000 visitors on climate change and inspiring them to action. And this week, the New York Aquarium is hosting a workshop of government, academic, and other experts to share lessons learned and best practices among US states to address coastal and ocean acidification.

“So what can individuals do to help solve the climate change threat? The choices we make every day can make a difference. Take mass transit; eat locally caught seafood from sustainable and well-regulated fisheries; reduce your consumption of single-use plastic; and support living shorelines and green infrastructure. The public should know that these changes make a difference in their lives and their communities, and sends a message to their representatives and leaders of the world as they grapple with the challenges posed by climate change.”