Tell Leaders at COP26 to Embrace the Ocean as a Climate Solution

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To stop biodiversity loss and mitigate climate change, international efforts need to focus on an overlooked, but powerful asset: the ocean. 

The ocean covers 71% of the Earth and absorbs one-third of the carbon dioxide generated by human activities. From seagrass and seaweed to mangroves and megafauna, the ocean provides a range of natural resources to promote biodiversity and capture carbon. Yet, it receives a fraction of the focus and funding in global climate dialogues.

We need leaders at the national and international levels to advance two major efforts to restore the health of the ocean and unlock its power to heal the planet.

1. To reverse biodiversity loss, we need all nations to commit fully to protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Research has shown that we must expand marine protected areas (MPAs) to cover at least 30 percent of the global ocean by the year 2030. Marine protection provides ecosystems with critical resiliency and vastly increases biodiversity, abundance, and ecosystem health. But currently, less than 3% of the ocean is fully protected from extractive activities. To meet the global 30x30 goal, we need all nations to move swiftly to adopting and advancing local marine protection. 

Mangroves have the potential to reduce our annual greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030. That’s equivalent to taking 2.5 billion cars off the road each year. · Cristina Mittermeier
2. To address climate change, we need to invest in ocean-based solutions to draw down carbon.

We need to reduce carbon emissions to keep global warming within 1.5°C. Ocean-based solutions can contribute to more than 20% of necessary reductions, but these efforts are chronically underfunded. We need to advance investment in blue carbon projects like seagrass, seaweed, and mangrove forests, and accelerate adoption of ocean-based renewable energy projects. And investments must support communities on the front-lines of climate change that have done little to contribute to the global climate crisis, and yet, continue to bear the brunt of rising sea levels and extreme weather.

Blue food systems can contribute up to 2.2% of the carbon reductions necessary to keep global warming within 1.5°C.
Coastal and marine ecosystems can contribute up to 2.5% of the carbon reductions necessary to keep global warming within 1.5°C.
Ocean-based transport systems can contribute up to 3.2% of the carbon reductions necessary to keep global warming within 1.5°C.
Seabed carbon storage can contribute up to 3.5% of the carbon reductions necessary to keep global warming within 1.5°C.
Ocean-based renewable energy can contribute up to 9.6% of the carbon reductions necessary to keep global warming within 1.5°C.

Combined, these two critical efforts — reaching the global goal of 30x30 and unearthing financial resources to protect natural resources — will help to protect the ocean so that it can protect the planet and all of us.

Add your name below to urge world leaders to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030 and support ocean-based solutions to climate change. 

23,230 signed. Let’s get to 30K.
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