The Vital Importance of Investing in the Blue Economy for a Sustainable Future – The blue economy plays a vital role in the world’s transition to a sustainable future, and conversations about a zero-carbon transition cannot ignore the importance of the oceans. Earth’s surface is mainly covered by water, and oceans regulate the Earth’s temperature, support biodiversity, and contribute to the water cycle. The oceans have absorbed 20-30% of anthropomorphic CO2 emissions and 90% of excess heat, but as the Earth reaches tipping points within its planetary boundaries, there are no guarantees that the oceans can continue to operate as they have been.
The ocean economy is estimated to contribute more than US$1.5 trillion to the global economy,
providing food and employment for hundreds of millions of people. However, the intensification and expansion of human activities have raised the ocean’s temperature, caused acidification, fishing, mining, shipping, tourism, plastics, and other pollution, which are all taking their toll. The historic High Seas Treaty agreed at the United Nations in New York in 2021 places 30% of the world’s oceans into “Marine Protected Areas” (MPAs) to protect wildlife and marine genetic resources. The treaty will allocate more funds to marine conservation, establish new rules for deep-sea mining, and establish an ocean’s “Conference of the Parties” (COP), in the same vein as the Climate and Biodiversity COPs.
To protect and enhance marine ecosystems and balance competing priorities, governments need tools to help value the blue economy and develop relevant taxonomies and frameworks for investment. States need to invest in the oceans as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and coastal resilience plans, and countries need to work collaboratively to protect areas of globally important biodiversity. To ensure finance flows from green to blue, capacity needs to be developed within the financial sector on basic ocean economy literacy and risk assessment.
Many tools of green finance can be applied to blue finance,
such as blue bonds and blue sustainability-linked loans, and markets for blue carbon are growing. The shipping industry, one of the few ocean industries with a global governance system, set the ambition in 2018 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 50% by 2050. Investment in renewable energy production from the ocean, such as offshore wind and wave power, and sustainable ocean foods, and greater investment in sustainable coastal and marine ecosystems through innovative financing mechanisms, can support conservation and restoration.
In conclusion, the blue economy is critical to the world’s transition to a sustainable future, and governments, businesses, and individuals must prioritize and invest in it. The oceans play an essential role in climate change, biodiversity, livelihoods, transport, and energy security, and protecting them is essential for a healthy future for people and the planet.
The Vital Importance of Investing in the Blue Economy for a Sustainable Future
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