The Ocean Could Be Key to Mitigating Climate Change

The Ocean Could Be Key to Mitigating Climate Change

An opinion piece released by the US State Department last week expressed the importance of the ocean as an opportunity to solve climate change. Referring to it as the "blue economy,” oceans could provide a way for countries to sustainably rebuild their economies after the effects of COVID-19 while also creating resilient low-carbon growth. The US has committed to protecting 30% of its ocean waters by 2030 and is working to do so by promoting sustainable fisheries, creating sustainable blue economies, advancing marine protected areas, and addressing marine pollution.

Recently, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy released a report detailing five ocean-based climate solutions that could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 billion metric tons by 2030 and 11 billion metric tons by 2050. These projections could close the emissions gap and significantly help countries achieve their climate goals.

UNCC: The Nature Conservancy | Blue carbon, December 7, 2020.

Why This Matters

More than 3 billion people depend on the ocean to sustain their livelihoods and it is a key indicator of the planet’s overall health. Investing in ocean-based climate solutions is essential to fighting climate change and protecting the main source of food and jobs for billions of people. The key actionable solutions outlined are decarbonizing ocean industries like shipping, scaling up offshore renewable energy, and promoting sustainable fishing practices in order to prevent severe climate repercussions. Ocean-based mitigation strategies have also been shown to significantly improve economic and social development standards in many countries that adopt sustainable ocean goals.

Caspian Report: The Ocean Economy will eclipse $3 trillion by 2030, July 15, 2020.

Our Ocean Conference 2022

In honor of World Ocean Week, the country of Palau is set to host the seventh annual Our Ocean Conference in collaboration with the US this week. The conference aims to "bring forward meaningful and actionable commitments to create a future that protects our ocean, our planet, and our people” with a focus on "islander perspectives and approaches” to cultivate a healthier ocean.

During the past six conferences, participating members have made over $91.4 billion worth of commitments for the conservation of marine areas and have protected five million square miles of ocean. This conference, which has COP26 in its rearview, will address solutions to safeguard the ocean from climate change and how to manage ocean resources sustainably.

WW0 COP26 Talks: President of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr., November 5, 2021.

Guardian: Tuvalu minister gives Cop26 speech while standing knee deep in seawater, November 8, 2021.

Guardian: One of the greatest injustices': Pacific islands on the frontline of the climate crisis, Oct 25, 2021.