The earth’s oceans cover 71% of its surface area, contain 97% of its water and play a crucial role in maintaining its climate. They contain much of the planet’s biodiversity and supply over 15% of humanity’s dietary intake of animal protein. Yet 60% of the world’s major marine ecosystems that underpin livelihoods have been degraded or are being used unsustainably and, by the year 2100, more than half the world’s marine species may stand on the brink of extinction. To date, only 1% (by area) of the planet’s oceans and seas have been protected in reserves. Threats to the planet’s oceans include acidification due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions, coral reef bleaching, and pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff, oil spills, radioactive spills and plastic garbage.

See also Climate change, Biodiversity, Pollution and waste and Protected areas.