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Press Release | Wednesday, 6. March 2019

Protecting the oceans from plastic waste and the impact of climate change: National Academies of Sciences address recommendations to the G20 countries

Representatives from the national academies of sciences of the G20 countries handed over recommendations to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe today in Tokyo, Japan, for later consultation at this year’s G20 summit. The statement with recommendations for improving marine conservation was jointly drafted by the G20 National Academies of Sciences under the leadership of the Science Council of Japan. The G20 summit will take place on 28 and 29 June in Osaka, Japan.

“I am pleased that scientists have now had the opportunity to contribute a topic to preparations for the G20 summit for the third time,” said Prof. Jörg Hacker, President of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, which represented Germany in the drafting of the recommendations. “A joint declaration drawn up for the heads of state and government by national academies of sciences from 20 countries gives the urgent issue of marine conservation the emphasis it deserves,” Hacker continued.

“Seas and oceans regulate the Earth’s climate, they are diverse and fascinating ecosystems and they are essential for human life. We must work very quickly to take action against the threat posed by increased CO2 emissions, overfertilisation, toxic substances, plastic waste and overfishing,” says climate researcher and member of the Leopoldina Prof. Gerald Haug, Director of the Climate Geochemistry Department and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz.

On behalf of the Leopoldina, he was involved in drafting the recommendations together with marine researcher and microbiologist Prof. Antje Boetius, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and member of the Leopoldina since 2009. At today’s submission of the S20 recommendations in Tokyo, Haug stressed that, in his view, CO2 emissions can only be sustainably reduced worldwide if – among other things – so far mostly uncoordinated national emission trading schemes and carbon taxes can be advanced to coordinated national prices of carbon and other greenhouse gases.

The summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the 20 most important developed and newly industrialised countries (G20) taking place in Osaka at the end of June is the third to involve scientists through the specially dedicated dialogue forum Science20. The G20 summits began drawing on expert scientific advice in 2017 under Germany’s G20 Presidency. It was then that the G20 National Academies of Sciences produced their first recommendations – for improved global health care provision – under the leadership of the Leopoldina. For more than 10 years now, the G7 summits have also drawn on the expertise of the national academies of sciences.

Contact:
Dr Marina Koch-Krumrei
Head of the Department of International Relations
Tel.: +49 (0)345 472 39-830
Email: marina.koch-krumrei@leopoldina.org


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Caroline Wichmann

Head of Department Press and Public Relations

Phone 0345 - 472 39 - 800
Fax 0345 - 472 39 - 809
E-Mail caroline.wichmann @leopoldina.org