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Navigating the significance of COP28 for global marine industries

In the face of an ever changing climate, the world finds itself at a crucial juncture: take decisive action or risk irreversible damage. As global temperatures continue to rise, there is an increasing need for comprehensive, international efforts to combat climate change. One of the pivotal events underpinning these efforts is the Conference of the Parties (COP), an annual gathering of nations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this week’s blog post we will explore the upcoming COP28 conference and its wider significance for global marine industries.

COP and the Battle Against Climate Change

The COP conferences are essential international gatherings where world leaders, diplomats, scientists, and industry representatives come together to discuss and negotiate strategies for combatting climate change. First held in 1995, these conferences have played a critical role in shaping the future landscape of environmental policy and action. One of the most significant outcomes of COP was the adoption of the Paris Agreement at COP21; a legally binding international treaty aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5°C. By bringing nations together to achieve a common goal, the Agreement is considered a landmark in the multilateral fight against climate change.

The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral fight against climate change

This year’s conference, COP28, will be held in the United Arab Emirates between 30th November to 12th December. The key focus points of the two week event are:

  1. Fast tracking the move to clean energy sources, to “slash” greenhouse gas emissions before 2030.

  2. Delivering money for climate action from richer to poorer nations, and working on a new deal for developing nations.

  3. Focusing on nature and people

  4. Making COP28 the ‘most inclusive’ COP to date

Why does climate change matter for our oceans?

Covering more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, the oceans play a multifaceted role as the planet’s life support system. They help regulate climate, supply more than 50% of our oxygen and provide a range of vital ecosystem services. Given our dependence on each of these functions, ocean health is of paramount importance. In spite of this, the oceans have taken the brunt of human-induced climate change. Through their role as Earth’s largest carbon sink, they have absorbed 90% of the heat generated by rising greenhouse gas emissions. This as led to a series of unparalleled, cascading effects such as sea level rise, marine heatwaves, and ocean acidification. Through their impact on ocean health, these effects have caused lasting impacts on marine biodiversity and the lives and livelihoods of over three billion people.

The significance of COP28 for global marine industries

Given their dependence on the oceans, marine industries are highly susceptible to the above mentioned impacts of climate change: extreme weather events have disrupted shipping operations, the degradation of marine ecosystems has impacted fisheries productivity, and rising sea levels has caused widespread flooding of coastal infrastructure. Not only are marine industries a victim to the climate crisis, but they are also a driving force behind it. Through excessive reliance on the oceans, these industries inadvertently contribute to climate change through activities which generate emissions and cause damage to marine ecosystems. In recognition of this interconnectivity, the consideration of marine industries at COP28 is essential. This may include the following:

  1. Mitigating carbon emissions: marine industries are a significant contributor to global carbon emissions, particularly the shipping industry. As of 2022, international shipping accounted for about 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The upcoming COP conference will provide a platform for nations to set emission reduction targets and discuss strategies to decarbonise the maritime sector.

  2. Protecting marine ecosystems: climate change has serious implications for marine ecosystems, including ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and rising sea levels. COP28 will provide a forum for discussions on measures to mitigate these impacts. These discussions will be crucial to maintaining biodiversity, sustaining fisheries productivity, and supporting the livelihoods of coastal communities.

  3. Fostering technological innovation: through it's role in enabling decarbonisation processes, innovation is key to achieving a sustainable future for global marine industries. COP28 will help foster collaboration among stakeholders to drive technological advancements in areas such as alternative fuels, energy-efficient vessel design, and waste reduction.

  4. Fostering international cooperation: climate change is a global challenge which requires cooperation on an international scale. November’s COP conference will provide a platform for nations to work together, share best practices, and hold each other accountable to their climate commitments. Collaboration at these events can help establish a unified global approach to addressing the impact of climate change on marine industries.

In conclusion, the upcoming COP conference holds immense significance for the future of global marine industries. The certainty of this future depends on collective efforts to reduce carbon emissions, safeguard ecosystems, and promote the sustainable use of marine resources. COP28 offers an opportunity to take decisive action and incite progress in the global fight against climate change.

Blueshift Consulting: your partner in climate change solutions

Blueshift's team of experts empowers businesses to address their climate change concerns. Our climate-focused services include carbon footprint calculation, emissions reduction strategies, and optimising operational efficiency through data-driven insights. If you are interested in how we can support your organisation’s climate capabilities, please get in touch with us via our website or send an email to

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