The authors of the opinion piece “Fighting the good fight for ocean health” in the Feb. 19 edition stress the need for funding worldwide climate initiatives and for keeping the efforts funded. To ensure that every country pays, they call for financing plans and monitoring. They also say “the oceans must become everyone’s business,” and that “no political consideration” should be allowed to “undermine cooperative action.”

These ideas go too far. They suggest that everyone should be made to pay for new climate initiatives. The authors refer to politics, an important aspect of national sovereignty, with a note of weariness and annoyance. In addition, they say “restoring the world’s oceans amounts to an unparalleled business opportunity.” And it certainly would be. It could take hundreds of years! Do they envision a network of committees that would award contracts for climate change initiatives? Such a network could eventually put millions of people to work and become indispensable. It would be the world’s largest employer.

It is true that more should be done to protect the world’s oceans. Closing legal loopholes and making existing rules and mechanisms more robust represent a significant move in the right direction. But to suggest that everyone be made to pay for new global programs under a monitoring regime goes too far and threatens national sovereignty. Our countries could lose the right of self-determination and become dependent on a global bureaucracy with the power to grant or withhold contracts totaling billions or trillions of dollars. Acting on these suggestions could harm us in the long run.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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