Report on Ocean-Based Solutions for Climate Change

Ocean-based climate action can play a much bigger role in shrinking the world’s carbon footprint than was previously thought. It could deliver up to 21 percent, or 11 GtCO2e, of the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cuts needed in 2050 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5° C. Reductions of this magnitude are larger than annual emissions from all current coal-fired power plants worldwide, according to new scientific report: The Ocean as a Solution for Climate Change: 5 Opportunities for Action, released in September at the U.N. Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York. 

The report, produced by the Expert Group of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy–a group of 14 heads of state and government–provides the first-ever comprehensive, quantitative analysis into the role that ocean-based solutions can play in the fight against climate change. 

These solutions include:

·  Scaling-up ocean-based renewable energy, which could save up to 5.4 gigatonnes of CO2e annually by 2050, equivalent to removing more than 1 billion cars off the road each year.

· Decarbonizing domestic and international shipping and transport, which could cut up to 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2e annually by 2050.

· Increasing the protection and restoration of “blue carbon” ecosystems– mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes–could prevent approximately 1 gigatonne of CO2e from entering the atmosphere by 2050.

· Utilizing low-carbon sources of protein from the ocean, such as seafood and seaweeds, to help feed future populations in a healthy and sustainable way while easing emissions from land-based food production could support emission reductions of up to 1.24 GtCO2e each year by 2050.

In response to the report, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy issued an urgent Call to Ocean-Based Climate Action to inspire political commitments, business partnerships and investments. Members of the panel have already made new ocean-climate commitments in advance of the UN Ocean Conference next year. Learn more here.


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