The ocean must be part of global climate conversations

COP26 may not have delivered a clear pathway towards keeping “1.5 alive,” but nature was at the forefront of high-level climate negotiations like never before. While the world’s forests took centre stage, meaningful moves in the ocean climate space were not to be missed. 

November 5th—Ocean Action Day at COP26—sent a clear message: ocean action is climate action. A now iconic image of Tuvalu foreign minister Simon Kofe delivering a speech thigh-deep in seawater hammered home the point that climate change is a very real threat and it’s submerging coastal communities now.

Among encouraging ocean-focused announcements at COP26, Seychelles pledged to include the blue economy and ocean adaptation in its Nationally Determined Contributions, and 19 countries signed on to a Paris Agreement-aligned shipping decarbonisation pledge. Public and private interests teamed up to promise major investments towards ocean protection, conservation and a sustainable ocean economy. We also witnessed the birth of the world’s first “mega” Marine Protected Area and the building of a metaphorical “blue wall” between Western Indian Ocean territories.

Overview of recent ocean-climate coverage on the World Ocean Initiative:

Ocean action is climate action
The impacts of a rapidly heating world are already being seen and felt across our waterscapes, but the ocean also holds solutions to tackling the climate crisis. How did the ocean feature amongst the coal, cars, cash and tree announcements at COP26? Catch our roundup of ocean action at the Glasgow climate talks.
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Ocean to COP: coral reefs can help save the world
Global forums like COP26 offer important opportunities to ensure coral reefs do not fall through the cracks during this critical decade for our planet. Read more in our guest blog from Peter Thomson (UN), Abdulla Naseer (Maldives) and Susan Lieberman (Wildlife Conservation Society).
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The climate crisis is an ocean crisis: we need to act now
The ocean should be at the heart of the fight against climate change. Instead, it is largely treated as an afterthought—a grave error that will hamper efforts to create a more sustainable future. Learn more in our guest blog from World Ocean Summit Asia-Pacific speaker, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, secretary-general of the Commonwealth.
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Checking in on ocean climate solutions
The potential of the ocean for accelerating decarbonisation merits prioritisation in the global climate-change discourse. In an article from Economist Impact’s World Ocean Initiative, commissioned by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, we explore key narratives around such solutions through four sector-specific categories: clean energy; transport; food systems; and carbon dioxide removal and storage.
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Upcoming event

World Ocean Summit Asia-Pacific: Investing in a blue economy
December 6th-10th 2021, virtual event
Hear from 100+ global leaders and industry experts as they discuss key measures to restore ocean health, in industry-focused tracks and a dedicated track on ocean finance. The Summit will also feature a debrief on COP26 and the ocean by Economist Impact’s Charles Goddard and Martin Koehring. View the agenda and find out more here.

View the agenda and find out more here.

More on the ocean economy: