COP26 Underestimated The Importance Of The Ocean In Climate Crisis: IMarEST

A multi-disciplinary approach is needed in the bid to ensure a sustainable ocean, deliver a just energy transition and develop a thriving blue economy says the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), following COP26. While the Institute welcomed the moves to make the ocean more central to delivering the goals of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it says that the importance of the ocean in responding to the climate crisis remains underestimated.

Professor Ralph Rayner, FIMarEST, Co-Chair of the IMarEST Operational Oceanography Specialist Group, says: “While it’s true that COP26 saw a level of recognition and focused action on the role the ocean plays in helping to combat climate change than in previous years, it is just not enough. A healthy and climate-resilient ocean plays a fundamental role. Climate policy must be aligned with broader ocean conservation and biodiversity restoration efforts. To avert a climate change disaster, we need to better understand that ‘ocean action is climate action’. We need global partnerships that include wider society, governments, academia and industry, and we need investment to effectively communicate the science and the impacts to every country.”

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The Institute’s membership comprises scientists, engineers and technologists who are collaborating to support the development of marine renewable energy, alternative fuels and emission reduction in shipping, aquaculture and fisheries management, biofouling and ballast water management, reduction of ocean plastics and marine litter, and the recycling of marine structures, among many other areas beneficial to the delivery of the UN sustainable development goals.

Work on climate change forms part of the IMarEST’s climate change position which sees it commit to explore and deepen understanding of the impacts of climate change and evaluate and devise technical and policy solutions supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation. The IMarEST also plays an advocacy role through a range of governmental, non-governmental and industry bodies with which it is involved, including the IMO. This work helps to inform the delivery of a climate-resilient ocean and the sustainable use of the ocean and ocean resources.

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