World leaders in ocean science and philanthropy come together to create first-ever ocean pavilion at UN Climate Conference

A group of the world’s leading philanthropic and ocean science organizations, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, have come together to highlight the global ocean at the upcoming 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The Ocean Pavilion in the official conference meeting area will highlight the critical importance of the ocean to the Earth’s climate and efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change in the safest and most efficient way. effective that science can offer. It will also be the first time that the ocean will be at the center of a pavilion inside the central “blue zone” at a COP and the first time that a pavilion will be organized mainly by a group of institutions. of research.

“Earth is an ocean planet,” said WHOI President and Director Peter de Menocal. “The ocean gives us the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. It also provides jobs for billions of people, including many of the world’s most vulnerable people. It is natural that the ocean is also at the center of discussions about the sustainability of human activity on Earth, including how it can help stabilize the global climate system at a safe level.

“The ocean drives Earth’s climate,” said Margaret Leinen, director of Scripps Oceanography and vice chancellor for marine science at UC San Diego. “We know that it has absorbed 90% of the heat produced by human activity since the dawn of the industrial age and that it contains 20 times more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial plants combined. Simply put, the ocean is the climate, and the climate is the ocean.

The Ocean Pavilion will serve as a central hub for conference delegates to exchange ideas on how to fight climate change by leveraging the ocean. Throughout the conference, which took place from November 6-18, the pavilion will feature events, meetings and in-depth discussions on daily conference topics and which explore issues surrounding the overarching objective of COP27 to implement the commitments made by nations following the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Visitors to the pavilion will also be able to learn about the work Ocean Pavilion partners and chat with scientists committed to finding solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Annual COP meetings bring together world leaders and climate experts from nearly 200 countries, as well as leaders from industry, commerce, transport, finance, labor and more, to focus on the common mission of respecting the commitments made within the framework of the Paris Agreement. Under the agreement, the countries pledged to collectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent the planet from warming more than 1.5 to 2°C (2.7 to 3.6° F) compared to pre-industrial times. Progress towards these goals has lagged and as a result the planet has already warmed by around 1°C, making the search for safe and effective solutions to reduce the rise in global temperatures even more urgent.

In order to keep warming below the thresholds set in the Paris Agreement, scientists are increasingly vocal about the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, to develop and deploy methods to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than human activities. produce. To be successful, this strategy, known as “net negative emissions,” will require large-scale nature-based solutions. Given that the ocean makes up more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, achieving this goal will almost certainly require taking advantage of natural ocean processes that already influence the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A 2022 study by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine highlighted six promising methods, but concluded that for any method to succeed, science must lead the way in determining the most appropriate set of solutions that helps society achieve its goals without harming the ocean.

At the same time, the ocean can also help address a much wider range of challenges facing people around the world, including food security, energy production, water management and economic growth. . This is why the United Nations recently created the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Developmentand convened the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon to stress that the global community must focus its efforts on better understanding the ocean in order to unlock solutions around the world.

These events, coupled with the worsening climate crisis, prompted WHOI and Scripps to unite and invite a wide range of partners to the task of “bringing the blue into the blue zone” at COP27. Partners include a diverse and growing set of global leaders in ocean science, engineering, policy and philanthropy – crucial perspectives for gaining the insights needed to overcome society’s many challenges.

In addition to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Scripps Institute of OceanographyOcean Pavilion partners include American Geophysical Union (AGU)Avatar Alliance Foundation, Blue Marine Foundation, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute for Research in Marine Sciences and Technologies (IFREMER), Minderoo Foundation, Monaco Scientific Center, National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries-Egypt (NIOF), National Center for Oceanography (NOC), Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI), OceanX, Pacific Islands Forum, Partnership for Global Ocean Observations (POGO), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), The ocean raceand The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the coordinating agency for the United Nations Ocean Decade.

The Ocean Pavilion will also be open to other groups attending COP27 to offer events during the conference that will broaden the conversation about what the ocean can do for the planet and what humans can do to protect the planet. ‘ocean.

“Ocean science is emblematic of how we will see our way out of the climate crisis,” Leinen said. “We succeed by finding solutions together on this ocean planet we call home.”

“The ocean is too big and too complicated for any one organization to go it alone,” de Menocal said. “We will only succeed by joining diverse perspectives to find solutions together.”

More information on the Ocean Pavilion, including ways to deliver events and programming during COP27, can be found at pavilion website. Anyone can too sign up to receive emails provide regular ocean updates from the COP27 Ocean Pavilion.