Climate change, plastic pollution and ecosystem destruction—the ocean faces many risks. Homes, businesses and investments are threatened by extreme weather, exposure to toxic chemicals and loss of resources. Innovation in ocean-based sectors can provide solutions to these problems, turning risks into opportunities.
The ocean makes a large and growing contribution to the global economy. Yet the ocean economy is a long way from becoming a truly sustainable “blue” economy. To achieve this transformation, huge quantities of capital are required to meet challenges such as restoring coastal ecosystems, developing low-carbon shipping fuels and boosting sustainable seafood.
Ocean temperatures reached their highest level ever recorded in 2019. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum's top five risks for 2020 (released ahead of Davos) are all climate-related. I was interviewed on TRT World to discuss how the ocean can provide both climate risks and opportunities.
Safeguarding and harnessing the ocean’s ability to provide for people and the planet is crucial for sustainable development. The year 2020 could be the year in which the world starts to realise that its prosperity depends on building a new—truly blue—ocean agenda.
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 conference discussed in some depth how the ocean can help to address climate change.
November 21st marks World Fisheries Day. Total world fish production is expected to reach 201m tonnes by 2030—a growth of 18% from 2016. Yet one third of global fish stocks are being exploited at unsustainable levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Carbon emissions from shipping account for almost 3% of global emissions, a larger percentage than Germany. When the International Maritime Organisation met in London in November I was interviewed by BBC News on the need for the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.
In October I attended the annual Our Ocean conference in Oslo. The conference was established in 2014. Eye-catching commitments from governments, businesses and civil-society organisations are a hallmark of the conference. But the transformation towards a truly “blue” economy requires more fundamental changes.
I presented The Economist Intelligence Unit's Food Sustainability Index, of which I was the lead editor for several years, at the Sustainable Food Summit in Istanbul. Organised by the Sustainability Academy and the Turkey Food Industry Employers' Association, the event discussed policy, civil society and corporate action to boost food sustainability in Turkey and beyond.
The effects of climate change are already being profoundly felt in the ocean, a reality that policymakers collectively acknowledged when they signed up to develop a treaty on marine biodiversity. Climate and resilience will be hotly debated topics at the World Ocean Summit in Japan in March next year.