COP26 Ocean Roundup
All the latest ocean news from COP26
This week, world leaders and their representatives have been attending the 26th meeting of COP (or Conference of Parties). Hosted by the United Nations, this annual conference serves as a forum for 196 countries to discuss the problems, solutions, challenges and successes of the fight against the climate crisis. The Lovesail team have been keeping a close eye on commitments that aim to tackle oceanic problems.
The oceans are a love that every sailor shares – but the climate crisis means that they’re under threat. Prominent climate studies have reported waters warming at depths of 1,000 metres and 93% of the excess heat is trapped in the world’s oceans. This has the potential to influence ocean currents which are the most important regulator of global weather systems. COP26 could play a huge roll in the outcome of our seas. Here’s our roundup all of last week’s news.
COP26 – Monday – 01/11/2021
Keeping the 1.5 C pledge alive was at the front and centre of discussions today. Nations struck a deal to stop and reverse deforestation – a potentially formidable blow against rising temperatures, as rainforests and woodlands act as carbon sinks and absorb.
The third ‘Because the Ocean Declaration‘ was launched at the University of Edinburgh, in association with ministers from Monaco, Belgium, Fiji, Australia, the UK and others. The declaration calls for ambitious ocean outcomes at COP26 and acknowledgement that ‘ocean protection is climate protection’.
The most powerful speech of the day came from Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley. In her speech at the opening ceremony, Mottley said that a 2C rise in global temperature would be a ‘death sentence’ for island and coastal communities.
COP26 – Tuesday – 02/11/2021
A few ocean pledges today! Negotiations between Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Columbia culminated in an announcement that a 200,000sq mile protected marine area will be set up in the Pacific Ocean.
The USA also joined the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, with John Kerry (the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate) announcing that ‘the ocean and climate are inextricably linked and ocean-based climate solutions are an essential element of keeping the goal to limit to warming to 1.5oC within reach’.
COP26 – Wednesday – 03/11/2021
Equador has announced that the marine reserve surrounding the Galapagos islands will be extended by 60,000sq km. Speaking at the summit, Equadorian President Guillermo Lasso said that ‘we are not only preserving the future for our country, but the entire humanity’. UNESCO has previously highlighted the Galapagos as being extremely vulnerable to climate change, due to its situation. The archipelago is located at the intersection between three ocean currents and in the path of El Nino, making it a target for hard-hitting weather events caused by climate change.
COP26 – Thursday – 04/11/2021
No high-level ocean updates today, but tomorrow has been labelled Ocean Day in the COP26 agenda so we’ll be keeping a close eye on progress!
COP26 – Friday – 05/11/2021
Despite numerous NGOs, climate advocates and activists calling on world leaders for stronger protections for global waters, Ocean Day at COP26 yielded very little.
The most striking and poignant call to action came from Simon Kofe, the foreign minister for Tuvalu. Standing in knee-deep waters, Kofe reiterated the sentiments expressed by island leaders earlier in the week; it will be them that suffers as a result of developed nations actions.
Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world and sits between Hawaii and Australia. However, two of Tuvalu’s nine islands are at risk of being submerged in ocean waters, due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion.
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