Blue Ventures on COP26
The global leaders gathering in Glasgow this week for the crunch climate talks will have much to discuss, and even more to do. As the climate crisis intensifies, our ocean has never been so threatened, nor more vital. Devastating cyclones. Flooding seas. Dying coral reefs. Collapsing fish stocks. To hundreds of millions of people living in the coastal tropics, climate change is not an abstract forecast to be discussed in a Scottish conference hall, but a real, present and escalating threat to their survival.
The summit, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) may be the world’s last best chance to meet these challenges and get runaway climate change under control. One of the world’s largest meetings, it is a vital opportunity to win more ambitious commitments from countries to reduce emissions.
Expectations are at rock bottom. Ahead of the conference, countries have promised to do more to curb their emissions and put the brakes on climate change. But these plans do not go nearly far enough. In every corner of society, we’re failing to make the changes we need to avoid the most disastrous consequences of the climate crisis. Our world is on track to warm by roughly 3 degrees by 2100 over pre-industrial levels, twice the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement.
If much more is not done, the effects on the coastal fishing communities where Blue Ventures works will be catastrophic. Three degrees of warming dramatically increases the likelihood of deadly heat waves, droughts, and ecosystem collapse. These impacts are already felt in places like Madagascar, a pioneer of locally-led approaches to marine conservation, where Blue Ventures’ story began. Madagascar produces about 0.01% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions every year, yet it is now facing a national famine caused by climate change. Coastal communities who have contributed least to the climate crisis find themselves among the most endangered by it.
The world must act urgently to avoid catastrophic warming. With far greater emission reduction commitments from governments and businesses, and bold efforts to build local resilience, tropical coastal communities can stand a fighting chance.
In particular, Blue Ventures (BV) wants to see far-reaching action in two areas key to our work: Nature-based solutions that restore and protect blue carbon habitats and healthy fisheries that secure local rights and empower local management.
The partners and communities BV works with on blue carbon are world-leading. We launched one of the world’s first fully verified blue carbon mangrove conservation projects in 2019. And we’ve led the way on blue carbon initiatives that put communities first, advancing the science and producing new tools and methodologies. We’re committed to sharing our findings so that everyone can benefit: we’ve released a report on mangrove blue carbon barriers and will be hosting an event at COP26 on 6th November from 09:00 – 10:00: Coastal Blue Carbon Panel – The vital role of mangroves for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
We’re also at the forefront in securing rights for coastal fishers. This is the foundation of our work and the basis of improving management, enriching local livelihoods, and restoring ocean life. Across 14 countries, we’re supporting nearly 700,000 small-scale fishers to manage and protect their seas in ways that benefit people and nature alike.
These two strands of our work meet in coastal waters, where there is a need to safeguard high carbon habitats like seagrasses from the damaging effects of industrial fishing vessels. Bottom trawlers in particular can destroy complex seafloor habitats that store vast quantities of carbon, releasing it back into the ocean. To share more about this emerging climate threat, we’ve released a report on bottom trawling and the climate crisis and will be sharing key findings at a COP26 side event at 14:00 on the 8th of November. The event will be available online and attendees can register now: Bottom trawling and a zero-carbon future: what needs to change?
We as a planet have an ever smaller window of opportunity to avert disastrous climate change. These are the make-or-break years. We cannot wait to solve the climate crisis.
Registration links for Blue Ventures’ events at COP26:
- Saturday 06 November 2021, 09:00 – 10:00: Coastal Blue Carbon Panel – The vital role of mangroves for climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Monday 08 November 2021, 14:00 – 15:30: COP26 Special: Bottom trawling and a zero-carbon future: what needs to change?
- Visit our COP26 landing page for all the details on our side events and policy recommendations
- Discover Blue Ventures’ work on blue carbon and securing fisher rights
- Read about Blue Ventures’ position on the UN Convention for Biodiversity’s 30×30 framework
- Find out more about the Transform Bottom Trawling coalition.
- Read our report on mangrove blue carbon barriers.