6.Climate change will lead to changes in the oceans, including increased frequency and intensity of weather and climate events, decline in sea ice, sea-level rise, oxygen depletion, ocean warming and acidification, putting marine ecosystems and coastal communities under stress.12 Sea-surface temperatures in UK coastal waters and in the North-East Atlantic have risen by between 0.1 and 0.5 ˚C per decade since the 1980s.13 As oceans warm, sea water expands. The Met Office described that under a strong warming scenario, thermal expansion is expected to contribute around 27cm to the total global sea level rise of 74cm in 2100.14
7.This thermal expansion has been accompanied by ocean deoxygenation. Ocean deoxygenation refers to the loss of oxygen from the oceans due to climate change. Long-term ocean monitoring shows that oxygen concentrations in the ocean have declined during the 20th century, and the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts that they will decrease by a further three to six per cent during the 21st century in response to surface warming.15 The University of Exeter has already observed that lowered oxygen levels have reduced certain species’ populations.16
8.The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has stressed the threat posed to marine species by the interaction between ocean acidification, increased temperature and deoxygenation:
Ocean acidification is happening in parallel with other climate-related stressors, including ocean warming and deoxygenation. This completes the set of climate change pressures on the marine environment- heat, acidity and oxygen loss- often referred to as the ‘deadly trio.’ Interaction between these stressors is often cumulative or even multiplicative, resulting in combined effects that are more severe than the sum of their individual parts.17
9.Another major recent finding has been the detection of a long-term decline in the largest part of Atlantic Ocean circulation, (a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic, including the Gulf Stream), which has weakened by around 15 per cent since the nineteenth century.18 We heard that these changes to ocean currents have potentially serious effects on marine biodiversity.19
10.Dr McQuatters Gollop, from the University of Plymouth, told us that the impacts of climate change have been detected at all levels of the food web. Her research has shown that there has been a northern migration of plankton, (the microscopic plants, algae and animals at the base of the food web), which could have repercussions on higher levels of the food web.20 Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, described an increasing number of tropical and temperate species moving northwards but noted that some species will not be able to adapt as quickly as climate change is happening.21 We also heard from Professor Callum Roberts of the University of York that that ocean warming may increase the prevalence of parasites and pathogens and affect ocean productivity.22 According to Professor Roberts:
Warming is reducing productivity. It slows mixing between a warm surface layer of water and colder water below, starving the surface layer of nutrients necessary for plant growth, and deeper waters of life-sustaining oxygen.23
11.The oceans act as an important carbon sink and it is estimated that they have absorbed 30 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions to date.27 As carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid and reduces ocean pH (acidification).28 Over the last 30 years the acidification of UK seas has been found to be happening at a faster rate than in the wider North Atlantic.29 Ocean acidification reduces the amount of carbonate in seawater, making it more difficult for marine organisms, such as plankton, the UK’s coldwater corals and molluscs, to form their calcium carbonate shells and skeletons.30 This could have impacts across the food web.31
12.The UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development), which the Government has committed to, contains a target to “minimise and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels” (see Annex B for more information).32 The University of Plymouth told us that monitoring of ocean acidification had stopped since the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme ended in 2015, and said it is important that its impetus is not lost.33 The Government’s scientific advisers agreed that long term monitoring is essential to understand the trends in ocean acidification, although they were not sure how the impacts of acidification can be managed, other than by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.34 Professor Mills from the University of Southampton told us that monitoring is needed internationally because acidification is “a global phenomenon”.35 The locations of the Overseas Territories could allow for this data to be collected, although Professor Moffat, from the Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Scottish Government, described the difficulty of monitoring ocean acidification:
… measuring pH in the sea is a real challenge. We can do it in a laboratory because we have—and you have probably all done it at school where we have popped a pH meter in or a piece of litmus paper or something like that. We cannot do that in the sea because the sea is salty. We have to measure other parameters and calculate the pH. Unfortunately, currently, there is no simple device to pop in the sea.36
He noted that the infrastructure for testing would not be needed on each territory, as samples could be analysed in the UK through collaborative working.
13.Dr McQuatters Gollop stressed that there is “a lot we don’t know” about how ocean acidification will affect UK waters and the many “elements of the food web”.37 The Committee on Climate Change Adaptation Sub-Committee agreed and highlighted that fisheries and biodiversity could be impacted:
There is also a lack of evidence of impacts on UK marine ecosystems for different degrees of warming. Higher water temperatures and increasing acidity could result in significant changes to the base of the marine food chain, possibly with major implications for fisheries and biodiversity.38
Some species such as reef-forming corals, already living at their upper tolerance level for temperature, will have more difficulty ‘moving’ fast enough to new areas.39 Coral reefs support over a quarter of all marine species and are of economic importance to many of the UK Overseas Territories where they support regional fisheries, tourism and play a key role in buffering coastal communities from storm waves and erosion.40
14.In May 2018, the Science Advisory Council produced a report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which reviewed the national monitoring and assessment programmes for ocean acidification and provided advice on how the UK should contribute to global monitoring.41 Among the recommendations were that the four existing UK time series for ocean acidification should be maintained on a long-term basis and additional UK sites for ocean acidification monitoring should be established. We asked Professor Boyd why ocean acidification was not being monitored in UK waters, he told us that the monitoring is still going on, but the funding for some of the monitoring has stopped.42
15.Defra’s evidence recognised that the ability for the sea to act as a sponge for carbon dioxide (CO₂) is not infinite and there will be a ‘tipping point’ reached unless emissions can be reduced in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement.43 Professor Moffat made the distinction that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, whereas ocean acidification relates just to carbon dioxide emissions. He said, “the solution to try to reduce ocean acidification is to reduce the CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere”.44
16.We heard from scientists, including the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, that meeting the Paris Agreement is crucial to a healthy sea.45 The Agreement aims to limit warming to well below two degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.46 It finds that the additional 0.5°C of warming would mean a 10-cm-higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves and would result in virtually all tropical coral reefs being eradicated.47 The report cites a global fishery model that projects a 50 per cent decrease in global annual catch. This is twice the rate of decline that would be seen at 1.5C.48 The IPCC report deepens the scientific evidence base towards supporting efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and warns that the window to achieve this, and avoid the worst climate change impacts, will close within the next 12 years.
17.Under the Climate Change Act,49 the UK is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. In June 2018, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) concluded that “the Government’s current plans and proposals are not on track to meet carbon budgets”.50 On 15 October 2018, Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Ministers in Scotland and Wales wrote to the CCC to seek advice on the UK’s long term climate targets.51 They asked when the UK should achieve a net zero greenhouse gas target and/ or a net zero carbon target to contribute to the global ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement. The CCC is due to respond by the end of March 2019. We asked the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth (Claire Perry MP) whether action needed to be accelerated to meet existing carbon budgets in light of the CCC’s criticism and the findings of the new IPCC report, she said:
Even 10 and 15 years away from these budgets ending, we are over 90% of where we need to be against 1990 levels. I am confident that we will get there. The IPCC report was a very sobering assessment of what we needed to do and that is why we are the first major industrial economy to ask for advice on how we might achieve a zero-emissions economy.52
Claire Perry later clarified in a letter that the Government’s response to the CCC’s annual progress report outlines new milestones to further progress the policies and proposals set out in the Clean Growth Strategy.53 Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told us that additional funding (£26.5 million) has been announced through the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, which includes mitigating against the impacts of climate change for small island developing states.54
18.Meeting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement is critical for the future health of the oceans. A two-degree temperature rise will significantly harm biodiversity and fish stocks and destroy 99 per cent of global coral reefs. We welcome the Government’s updated actions and milestones for the Clean Growth Strategy and its request for advice on meeting the Paris Agreement. The Government must not delay in implementing the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on how to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement whether through legislative means or otherwise. It should set out its plans in the first half of 2019. This should include setting a net-zero target by 2050 at the very latest.
19.Human induced carbon dioxide emissions are causing ocean acidification, warming and deoxygenation. This will have major implications for fisheries and biodiversity around the UK and some of the UK Overseas Territories which are reliant on coral reefs for their livelihoods and resilience to extreme weather events. We heard that there is limited knowledge of how these dangers are affecting the biodiversity of our waters and, we are disappointed that monitoring of ocean acidification is no longer being funded by the Government. In line with the Science Advisory Council’s advice to Defra on future ocean acidification monitoring, the existing UK time series for ocean acidification should be maintained on a long-term basis and additional UK sites for ocean acidification monitoring should be established to cover other important habitats. The Government must also use its expertise internationally to help Overseas Territories and Commonwealth countries understand and assess, including through monitoring, their vulnerabilities to ocean acidification, warming and deoxygenation particularly with regards to the impact to biodiversity and fisheries.
20.Pollution in the ocean comes in many different forms. Some is from activities at sea, such as marine litter, oil spills, lost or discarded fishing gear (known as ‘ghost gear’) as well as underwater noise and light pollution from shipping and marine industries.55 Yet more than 80 per cent of marine pollution is from land-based sources, reaching the ocean through waterways, drains or sewers.56 This includes excess nutrients from fertilisers and sewage run-off, mismanaged waste and contaminants such as heavy metals, radioactive waste, pharmaceuticals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs),57 oils and untreated sewage.58
21.Nutrient-based pollution of coastal areas is associated with effluent run-off from farmland and septic tanks and from the adverse effects of discharges of wastewater and certain industrial discharges.59 These excess nutrients cause excessive growth of plants and algae resulting in depleted dissolved oxygen concentrations (eutrophication). This can cause algal blooms which harm fish, mammals and birds and have economic impacts, such as the closure of shellfish harvesting areas.60 Our recent inquiry into UK Progress on Reducing Nitrate Pollution found that 86 per cent of English rivers did not reach good ecological status in 2016,61 which is lower than the EU average, and that UK bathing waters are seventh from the bottom in the EU.62 Witnesses such as the RSPB suggested that to effectively deal with the impacts at sea, much greater progress must be made to reduce land-based sources of nitrogen pollution.63 The diffuse sources of nutrient enrichment make remediation of eutrophication difficult, but it could be limited through more responsible fertiliser use on land through improved catchment management practices and incentivising the reduction of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture.64 The British Ecological Society noted that improved sewage treatment has reduced its impact on UK marine ecosystems, yet there are other issues of concern that have not been studied in as much detail, such as the potential build-up of pharmaceuticals in marine habitats.65
22.Dr Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, told us that there is a “good news story” for heavy metals as they are decreasing.66 The UK’s Biodiversity Indicators which monitor marine pollution,67 show that over the period 1990 to 2016 all six indicator substances have declined.68 Yet a review by the University of Plymouth stressed that a lack of data is a challenge for measuring marine pollutants and their impact, as many of the contaminants of concern are not commonly monitored entering the marine environment.69 These include nanomaterials, personal care products and pharmaceuticals.70 Some of these materials are not subject to bacterial attack and so steadily build up in coastal waters, sediments, plants and animals, creating an increased prevalence of disease and build-up of toxins in the food chain.71 Professor Boyd explained it is new chemical compounds that he is most concerned about:
The things I worry about are the unseen things. We are creating new chemical species all the time and we are using them in all sorts of imaginative ways in our economy. Very often we do not worry they are a problem until they turn up in the oceans in some way or another. Brominated flame retardants are an example of that.72
23.Brominated flame retardants have routinely been added to consumer products for several decades. Professor Boyd said they can travel into the marine environment and bioaccumulate.73 They are “not quite as toxic” as Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), but once they get into top predators they tend to have negative effects.74 PCBs are persistent organic pollutants (POPs)75 that are considered the main threat to cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Europe.76 Although they are now banned, PCBs were used ubiquitously in electrical utilities and in other industrial applications which has created a large legacy issue. We heard that old transformers and infrastructure have PCBs in and there are probably “large amounts” in landfill sites which continuously leak into the environment.77 Once POPs get into the marine system they become distributed over very large areas and can volatilise, travelling across the world. POPs can also become trapped in marine sediments, which cannot easily be treated and can cause re-exposure if disturbed by marine industries.78
24.The best course of action is not to release POPs in the first place.79 PCBs and some brominated flame retardants are covered by the 2004 Stockholm Convention, an international treaty which aims to eliminate, restrict or reduce emissions of the 28 chemicals classified as POPs.80 Under the Convention, existing equipment that contains or is contaminated with PCBs may continue to be used until 2025, and there is an exemption that allows the recycling of plastics and foams containing POPs until 2030.81 We asked Lord Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN, to clarify the Government’s position on PCBs. He stated:
The use of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) has been progressively restricted since the 1970s and their supply and use in new products was banned in the UK in 1986. In the 25 Year Environment Plan the Government has committed to seeking to eliminate the use of all PCBs by 2025, in line with our commitments under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. This commitment refers to PCBs in legacy materials and equipment including transformers, capacitors or other repositories containing liquid stocks.82
25.Professor Boyd suggested that the UK was acting responsibly but added that there may be other countries still producing PCBs in “places like Southeast Asia”.83 He suggested the UK should not only get its “own house in order” with respect to polluting the oceans but should also help other countries to understand where their sources of pollution are. He added that the UK should use its influence in the international community to make sure that treaties such as the Stockholm Convention are complied with.84 As of June 2018 the Convention had not been ratified by the United States,85 Israel, Malaysia and Italy, yet the global nature of the impacts demonstrates the need for multi-lateral action.86
26.Many of the chemical pollutants found in the ocean are from land-based sources. It is worrying that the UK is lagging behind other countries in the EU with regards to nitrate pollution, and much greater progress must be made to reducing land-based sources of chemical pollution. The Government should, as part of its Environment Bill, produce legally binding targets on water quality in-line with or exceeding those set out in the EU Water Framework Directive. These targets should be underpinned by clear milestones.
27.Once in the marine environment, Persistent Organic Pollutants can travel across the globe. They therefore require global commitments and coordination to eliminate, restrict or reduce their use. Although Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) have been banned in the UK for over 30 years, they remain high in estuarine and coastal environments. This highlights the importance of the precautionary approach to chemical regulation and use. In addition to meeting its obligations under the Stockholm Convention, the Government should to use its expertise and influence in the international community to pressure non-ratifying states to eliminate the use of Persistent Organic Pollutants and ensure that those which have signed the Treaty are complying with its requirements.
28.Globally, 320 million tonnes of plastic are used every year, and, of this, only five per cent is effectively recycled.87 Plastics are made to be durable, but this means they degrade slowly and therefore accumulate in the environment. Around 70 per cent of all the litter in the oceans is made of plastic and the vast majority originates from land, with rivers providing a pathway to the sea.88 Once in the environment, plastics can also break down to form microplastics through the fragmentation and weathering of larger items.89
29.The British Sub Aqua Club told us that “as well as fishing nets, divers routinely see rubbish such as plastic drinking bottles and other detritus”.90 Programmes such as BBC’s ‘Blue Planet 2’, have captured the public attention and shone a spotlight on the issues of marine litter and specifically plastic pollution.91 Its impacts range from direct entanglement of marine life, choking of animals on ingested plastics and the suffocation of coral reefs. The number of seabirds estimated to have ingested plastic has increased from five per cent in 1960 to 90 per cent in 2015.92 Microplastics can also enter the food chain and act as vectors for toxins, both from chemical additives in plastics and because of their role in concentrating the background pollutants present in the oceans.93 Professor Boyd warned of hidden threats to the ocean as so much unseen pollution is made up of microplastics.94 He said that there is relatively little evidence that microplastics cause serious long-term harm, but that is “largely because we have not looked hard enough yet”.95
30.Professor Richard Thompson, Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit at the University of Plymouth, told us action on plastics needs to be taken on land to prevent it ending up in the oceans:
Plastic pollution in the sea is a symptom of a more systemic issue originating on land and related to the design, the use and the disposal of plastic items, particularly single-use packaging. To reduce it, a key priority is to focus on interventions and stewardship to help reduce the quantity of plastic waste generated by society and the associated release of litter to the ocean.96
Dr Vallance agreed that plastics must be tackled at their source and told us that if nothing is done about the input of plastic to the ocean it will treble in ten years.97 China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are responsible for as much as 60 per cent of the plastic waste that enters the world’s seas,98 yet the UK ships its waste to these countries, which could be exacerbating the problem.99 Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace highlighted that the UK is beginning to lose its markets for these exports:
… just this week we had Thailand announce that it is going to stop receiving any waste from the west. At the start of this year, we had China say the same. This morning we had Malaysia come out and say that they are going to be reforming their waste imports. This problem on the other side of the world still involves UK waste, and that is waste that sometimes we think is being recycled.100
31.Under UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 there is a target to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution” by 2025 (see Annex B for more information).101 The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy commits it to work towards “zero avoidable waste by 2050” and its 25 Year Plan for the Environment commits to “achieving zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042”,102 while the EU has a more ambitious target to make all plastic packaging on the European market recyclable by 2030. Greenpeace suggested the UK’s targets are too weak and action on avoidable plastic should be accelerated:
The 25yr environment plan commitment of “working towards eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042” is far too vague and massively lacks ambition on timescale. Instead, it should be a target to eliminate all single use plastic by the mid-2020s.103
Defra highlighted the action that the UK Government has already taken on plastics, including legislation to band microbeads, the 5p plastic bag charge, its plans for a plastic bottle deposit return scheme and to end the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.104 Although the 5p plastic bag charge has resulted in a reduction of 86 per cent since it was introduced in 2015, Professor Mills from the University of Southampton thought more could be done through complete bans or a more significant plastic tax.105 Will McCallum suggested that the Government should go further and introduce a tax on virgin plastics (those that have never been used or processed before), to steer companies to move away from the need to produce single-use plastics using virgin plastic. He thought it would also provide an incentive to recapture material that is being sent abroad.106
32.Fiona Ball, Head of Inspirational Business at Sky Group, thought that the Government could do more to help businesses determine which plastics are avoidable and which are problematic:
We need to be really clear with respect to what the problematic plastics are and what businesses need to do, so a policy with respect to what single-use plastic is and what plastics we should as businesses eliminate, and Government could help identify which plastics we need to act fast on.107
33.In the 2018 Budget, the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, announced a new tax on the manufacture and import on plastic packaging which includes less than 30 per cent recycled plastic from April 2022 (subject to consultation).108 The Budget did not include a tax on disposable cups (commonly referred to as a ‘latte levy’) as recommended by this Committee, but this will be reconsidered if the industry does not make enough progress. DEFRA’s Resources and Waste Strategy, says it will consider including disposable cups in its deposit return scheme.109 We asked Claire Perry why there were not more measures to tackle plastic in the Budget. She told us:
There are many ways to tackle the plastics problem. Clearly part of that is to improve recycling rates and there are consultations currently out there on the idea of deposit schemes—refunds for deposits. We have shown absolute leadership in banning microbeads, which is something that other European countries have not done. Microbeads are a major problem in the ocean food chains. I may not be able to persuade you that we are leading but I hope I can persuade you that this has come from nowhere, in the last 18 months, to being one of the most fundamental questions for DEFRA.110
34.Around 70 per cent of all the litter in the oceans is made of plastic and, if no action is taken, it will treble within the next ten years. There are a wide range of risks associated with marine litter and plastic pollution including direct entanglement or ingestion by seabirds and marine life and the suffocation of coral reefs and life on the seabed. Plastics break down to form microplastics which have the potential to enter the food chain and act as vectors for toxins. There is a lack of data on their serious long-term harm and the health implications of these plastic particles entering the food chain.
35.There is much more that the Government could do to prevent waste reaching the ocean, both domestically and by not exporting waste to countries with poor recycling infrastructure. Supporting Indonesia and Malaysia to reduce plastic while simultaneously exporting contaminated plastics to them shows the lack of a lined-up approach at the heart of the Government’s strategy. We welcome the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy which puts more onus on producers to pay for the costs of recycling and disposal of waste. Yet much of the strategy remains subject to consultation and will not be implemented for several years. We are disappointed that the plastic bottle deposit return scheme promised in 2017 will not be ready until 2023. Action needs to be taken much sooner to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds by 2025.
We recommend that the Government should:
12 Government Office for Science. 2018. Foresight Future of the Sea; EU ATLAS Project (SSI0037); University of Exeter (SSI0065); Met Office (SSI0057);
15 IPCC. 2018. Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C (SR15)
17 IUCN. 2017. Ocean acidification
26 Government Office for Science. 2018. Foresight Future of the Sea
29 Marine Biological Association (SSI0028) and Williamson, P., Turley, C. and Ostle, C. 2017. Ocean acidification. MCCIP Science Review 2017, 1–14
30 Q66; Marine Biology Research Group, University of Southampton, (SSI0087); Defra. 2018. Recommendations to inform a UK ocean acidification monitoring strategy
32 UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below water [Accessed 14/09/2018]
33 The UK Ocean Acidification (UKOA) research programme ran from 2010 to 2015 jointly funded by National Environment Research Council (NERC), Defra and the then Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). University of Plymouth Marine Institute (SSI0070)
39 IUCN. 2017. Ocean acidification
40 IUCN. 2017. Ocean acidification; Government Office for Science. 2018. Foresight Future of the Sea; Plymouth Marine Laboratory (SSI0048)
41 Ocean Acidification sub group of the Science Advisory Council 2018. Recommendations to inform a UK Ocean Acidification Monitoring Strategy, May 2018.
43 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (SSI0125); The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. The UK ratified the agreement in November 2016.
45 Q9; Q61; Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (SSI0125); Plymouth Marine Laboratory (SSI0048); Dr Michael Sweet (SSI0056); Professor Elizabeth Kirk (SSI0031);
46 IPCC. 2018. Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C (SR15)
47 Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Tabea K. Lissner, Erich M. Fischer, Jan Wohland, Mahé Perrette, Antonius Golly, Joeri Rogelj, Katelin Childers, Jacob Schewe, Katja Frieler, Matthias Mengel, William Hare, Michiel Schaeffer. Differential climate impacts for policy-relevant limits to global warming: the case of 1.5 deg C and 2 deg C. Earth System Dynamics, 2016; 7 (2): 327 DOI: 10.5194/esd-7–327-2016
48 IPCC. 2018. Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C (SR15); World Resources Institute. Half a degree and a world apart
50 Committee on Climate Change progress report, June 2018, p36
51 Letter to Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change from Rt Hon Claire Perry, Roseanna Cunningham MSP and Lesley Griffiths AM, 15 October 2018.
53 Letter from Rt Hon Claire Perry to Chair, 27 Nov 2018; Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 2018. Committee on Climate Change’s 2018 progress report: Government response, p76 - 82
55 Environment Links UK (SSI0102); University of Exeter (SSI0065); World Animal Protection (SSI0052)
57 Persistent organic pollutants are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment.
58 Environment Links UK (SSI0102); Professor Callum Roberts (SSI0077); British Ecological Society (SSI0076); Professor Elizabeth Kirk (SSI0031); Marine Biological Association (SSI0028); Arup (SSI0038)
59 Fauna & Flora International (SSI0105); Environmental Audit Committee, Eleventh report of Session 2017–19, UK Progress on Reducing Nitrate Pollution, HC656
61 Under the EU Water Framework Directive all water bodies should have a good ecological status by 2027
62 Environmental Audit Committee, Eleventh report of Session 2017–19, UK Progress on Reducing Nitrate Pollution, HC656 and European Environment Agency, Good news for holiday makers: excellent water quality at vast majority of European bathing sites, May 2018
67 Defra, DAERA, Welsh Government, Scottish Government, 2018 Biodiversity statistics
68 The indicator is based on levels of five heavy metals (cadmium, mercury, copper, lead and zinc) and one organic compound (lindane). Mercury and lindane have fallen by 90%; cadmium by 87%; lead by 66%; zinc by 63% and copper by 57%.
69 Future of the Sea: Hazardous Chemicals and Physical Contaminants in the Marine Environment; University of Plymouth Marine Institute (SSI0070)
70 Such as heavy metals, pesticides, flame retardants, plastics, radioactive material, and drugs such as antibiotics, hormones and birth control chemicals.
73 Birnbaum, L.S., Staskal, D.F. 2004. Brominated flame retardants: cause for concern? Environmental Health Perspectives 112(1): 9–17.
75 Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemicals of global concern due to their potential for long-range transport, persistence in the environment, ability to bio-magnify and bio-accumulate in ecosystems, as well as their significant negative effects on human health and the environment.
80 UN Industrial Development Organization. Stockholm Convention [Accessed 19/11/18] and POST. 2018. Persistent Chemical Pollutants The pollutants covered by Convention are either pesticides, industrial chemicals or unintentionally produced by-products from combustion. Only three brominated flame retardants are currently listed under the convention yet there are around 80 different types, with others are expected to join the list soon.
81 UNEP. 2018. Stockholm Convention PCBs overview [Accessed 20/11/2018]; POST. 2018. Persistent Chemical Pollutants
82 Letter from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon to Mary Creagh, 11 November 2018
85 Although the United States signed the agreement in 2001, the Senate has yet to provide advice and consent to ratification. U.S. participation as a full party to the Stockholm Convention is needed to ensure the treaty fulfills its objective.
86 UNEP. Stockholm Convention Status of ratification [Accessed 28/11/18]
87 Sky Group. 2018. Bigger Picture Impact Report
89 CIWEM, 2017. Addicted to plastic
92 Wilcox, C., Van Sebille, E. & Hardesty, B. D. 2105. Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112: 11899, cited in WWF. 2018. Living Planet Report
98 McKinsey & Company and Ocean Conservancy. 2015. Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic free ocean
99 Why the world’s recycling system stopped working, Financial Times, 25 October 2015
101 UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below water [Accessed 14/09/2018]
102 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 2017. Clean Growth Strategy; HM Government. 2018. A Green Future: The Government’s 25 year plan to improve the environment
105 Defra, Carrier bag charge: summary of data in England, 30 July 2016; Q72
108 HM Treasury. The 2018 Budget
109 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England, p.61
Published: 17 January 2019