Science clearly shows climate impacts on ocean and ice accelerating demanding faster action from governments

In response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), IIED director Andrew Norton said:
Press release, 25 September 2019

“This report’s findings are staggering. The rate and magnitude of change to the ocean, glaciers and ice sheets are happening much faster than previously predicted. The climate emergency must be met with equally accelerated action.

“The science clearly shows the effects on the ocean will disproportionately hit tropical areas, which are home to the highest concentration of people living in poverty. Their lives and livelihoods – particularly small-scale fishers – are at risk from rising sea levels, ocean warming, acidification and plummeting catches of fish. 

“In mountain areas, thawing permafrost and increased floods and fires will have increasingly devastating impacts on the poorest people and the longevity of the infrastructure that serves them.

“Rich countries must step up their response to tackling climate change. The countries most able and historically responsible urgently need to make bigger cuts in emissions, transfer appropriate technologies and provide the money they committed to help developing countries cope with the climate crisis.

“Scientific and technical approaches need to be combined with local insights and traditional knowledge. Solutions will be strengthened by following the science and getting finance into the hands of local people.”


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Beth Herzfeld, IIED head of media, on +44 (0)7557 658 482 or email

Notes to editors

  • Small-scale fisheries supply 50% of the world’s seafood and employ more than 90% of fishers. The supply chains associated with small-scale fisheries provide a livelihood for millions of women.
  • Research from IIED and the UK’s National Oceanography Centre clearly shows that the ocean is interconnected. The high seas are critical to the life cycles of fish stocks, their development and migration, and for other marine flora and fauna directly affecting the women, children and men living in developing countries’ coastal communities. Read ‘So far, yet so close: ecological connectivity between ABNJ and territorial waters’.
  • IIED estimates less than 10% – US$1 in $10 – of the $17 billion climate finance committed from international climate funds by 2016 were prioritised for local-level activities. Read ‘Delivering real change: getting international climate finance to the local level’.
  • IIED is a policy and action research organisation. It promotes sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. IIED specialises in linking local priorities to global challenges. Based in London, UK it works in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, with some of the world's most vulnerable people to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them – from village councils to international conventions.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Sarah Grainger: +44 7503 643332 or