A healthy ocean is critical to achieving global targets to limit climate change.

Climate change poses stark risks to the health of the ocean and to the realisation of a prosperous and sustainable ocean economy. Acidification and rising ocean temperatures are negatively impacting important industries such as fishing and tourism, as well as the well-being of coastal populations. There is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit further temperature rise.

Although at risk, the ocean is also central to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. To highlight the ocean’s important role as a solution to global climate change, the Ocean Panel commissioned a Special Report, ‘The Ocean as a Solution for Climate Change: Five Opportunities for Action’, to underscore that a healthy ocean is critical to achieving global targets to limit climate change, to identify new insights and to inform the report’s call to action.

The report’s publication coincided with the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2019.

Notably, the research found that ocean-based climate action can play a much bigger role in shrinking the world’s carbon footprint than was previously thought, and it could deliver up to one-fifth (21 percent, or 11 GtCO2e) of the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cuts needed in 2050 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Opportunities for Action

 Some national governments have already committed to developing new initiatives, partnerships and providing significant funding investments to rapidly accelerate ocean-based climate solutions in line with the 6 action areas below. The indicative commitments made by Ocean Panel members to date are captured below. This list will be further developed to reflect new ideas as they emerge.

  1. Invest in nature-based climate solutions
  2. Harness ocean-based renewable energy
  3. Decarbonize ocean-industries
  4. Secure sustainable food for the future
  5. Advance the deployment of carbon capture and storage
  6. Expand ocean observation and research

Companies and other organisations are also starting to form coalitions and grow partnerships to advance relevant action.

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