UN climate talks in Madrid: How can the ocean help to address climate change?

Weary delegates to last week’s COP25 climate talks have arrived back home to digest the outcome for ocean sustainability and the blue economy. The event featured over 100 side events with many focused on the opportunities for ocean-based solutions to climate change, in particular, restoring ecosystems including mangrove forests and seagrass meadows that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Measures like these are badly needed to strengthen the carbon reduction plans that countries must submit in 2020 under the Paris Agreement.

The Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative covered COP25 as it kicked off in Madrid, as it entered its final stages, and as it concluded in disappointment. We also published a video on how the ocean can help to address climate change.

Is there a role for deep-sea mining?

The transition to a low-carbon economy will require huge volumes of metals such as nickel and copper to build millions of electric vehicles and wind turbines. Deep-sea mining promises to supply these metals at a much lower environmental cost than land-based mining. We spoke to mining companies, environmentalists and the regulator to assess the pros and cons of this controversial sector of the blue economy.

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