Investing in the ocean to fight the climate crisis
It’s time for world leaders to #BackBlue to protect and regenerate the ocean for future generations – and there is no better moment than now. Today is not only youth and public engagement day at COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow – it’s also the day delegates will focus their attention on the ocean’s role in tackling the climate challenge.
While this may be coincidental, it’s a strong reminder of why we need to act. I’ve always been passionate about protecting the ocean and the planet in the hope that my grandchildren and future generations can grow up in a world where they can thrive.
Investing in the Earth’s ocean and coasts presents the opportunity to make this hope a reality. The UN estimates that investing $6billion a year in nature-based disaster risk management measures like restoring coastal ecosystems would save the world $360billion over the next 15 years. That is a pretty good return. So, urgently investing in blue nature at scale is now needed.
We shouldn’t underestimate how important the health of the ocean and vitality of coastal ecosystems is to tackling the climate crisis. The more life there is in the seas, the more they are able to draw in, capture and trap carbon dioxide, as well as stay healthy. There is no tech solution that is anywhere as cost-effective or efficient as nature to do this. That’s why we need also to increase finance, scientific knowledge and collaboration to boost action and investment into blue nature, to better inform decisions and drive the change we need.
This is starting to happen. In Glasgow, the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), which is co-hosted by Ocean Unite and in partnership with the UK government, is bringing finance and insurance leaders together with charities, communities and governments from around the world to invest in coastal and marine nature. They are looking to develop the global ocean finance architecture needed to get to scale as quickly as possible.
This week the ORRAA released the #BackBlue commitment – a call to action for the finance sector to drive financial system policy change and scale investment into the ocean and coasts. The Canadian government, which helped get things rolling, committed a further $9 million to ORRAA’s work, adding to the $3 million committed from the UK’s Blue Planet Fund earlier this year.
Less than 10% of climate finance is finding its way into nature – and only a fraction of that is being invested in the ocean. It’s time to think differently about the ocean and #BackBlue to protect not only the ocean, but young people’s future.