This event addressed the role of nature-based solutions and approaches in the protection of seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh ecosystems with multiple co-benefits. Panelists also discussed guidelines from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for measuring mitigation value in the 2020 nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Thomas Hickey, PCT, opened the session. In opening remarks, Rosana Garay Maldonado, COP 25 Presidency, Chile, called on countries to step up their ambitions to close the emissions gap. Noting that improving energy efficiency is key, she also called for a focus on nature-based solutions as part of the toolbox to address climate change. Pointing to the risks posed by climate change to cities, Garay underscored the importance of mangroves as carbon sinks.
In a keynote address, Ronny Jumeau, UN Permanent Representative, Seychelles, reminded participants that the COP 25 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been billed as the “Blue COP.” He underlined that blue carbon refers to mangroves, seagrass and salt marshes, and noted that addressing these ecosystems aligns with the growing support for nature-based solutions, and awareness of oceans as part of the solution to the climate crisis. Jumeau stressed the need to understand the role of ocean protection in the fight against climate change, underlining that when small island developing states (SIDS) act as “Big Ocean States,” ambition increases 1000-fold. Noting that huge ocean spaces absorb more carbon than land, he stressed that a healthy ocean acts as a climate buffer as well as the need to reduce emissions.
Participants also viewed a video on coastal wetlands, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Lisa Schindler Murray, TNC.
Lois Young, Permanent Representative to the UN, Belize, said her country’s NDC has a strong blue carbon protection component, and cited commitments to restore and protect mangrove ecosystems into net carbon sinks by 2030. She highlighted co-benefits of protecting low-lying coastal areas against storms and soil erosion, such as increased fish stocks. Young reported on the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan to promote wise use of coastal resources, and the establishment of a coast-to-coast network for coastal zone protection.
Rémy Rioux, CEO, AFD, recalled his country’s commitment to ensure development agencies consider both the positive and negative impacts of their financing on climate and biodiversity. He reported that AFD is committed to this cause and noted that the International Development Finance Club, a group of the 26 largest development banks, are further addressing the climate-biodiversity nexus. He highlighted partnerships with the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to submit a Green Climate Fund proposal for practical climate adaptation solutions for island states.
Stating that development sometimes stands in the way of environmental protection, Rochelle Newbold, Director, Bahamas Science and Technology Commission, Ministry of the Environment and Housing, pointed to the country’s designation of millions of acres of wetlands as protected areas as part of raising its climate ambition. Stressing the need to further invest in nature-based solutions to address flooding, erosion and storm surges, she urged an increase in ambition to guarantee the existence of islands, underscoring the need for more than empty talk from COP 25.
Acknowledging that COP 25 is the Blue COP, Jeanette Mani, Climate Change Division, Fiji, called for focusing attention on oceans as part of the solution to climate change. Noting that achieving net zero emissions by 2025 is possible through a high-ambition scenario, she pointed to the need for drastically increased mangrove replanting and preservation. On opportunities for future, she called for the COP 25 Presidency to initiate an ocean pathway to enhance ocean health.
Jumeau highlighted partnerships with PCT for including blue carbon in his country’s NDC. He also highlighted the establishment of Seychelle’s blue bond, designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects. The proceeds of the bonds, he noted, enhance protection of the marine environment through the Blue Grants and Blue Investment Funds.
This event showcased the implementation of CDM projects in cities, highlighting co-benefits from mitigation actions in the energy, building, transport, and waster management sectors in tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieving low carbon emissions.
El Hadji Mbaye Diagne, CDM Executive Board Vice-Chair, moderated the event.
In opening remarks, Piotr Dombrowicki, CDM Executive Board Chair, noted that more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas and on the frontlines of both being affected by and working to address the impacts of climate change.
In a keynote address, Kwi-Gon Kim, Seoul National University, reported that cities account for over 71% of global GHG emissions. He called for reforming the existing CDM to a citywide approach that includes improved urban planning methodologies, nature-based solutions, and use of digital technology for climate-smart cities.
Axel Michaelowa, Perspectives Climate Group, presented on the Delhi Metro cluster of CDM projects. Noting the Delhi Metro is used by more than two million people every day, he discussed CDM-related actions, including the installation of a GHG emitting rolling stock metro system, which achieves reductions of 43.2 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
In a presentation on the CDM in the building sector, Kim highlighted opportunities from digital technology, including big data, to aid effective climate action, and showed how block-chain technology provides consumers choices regarding where to buy renewables.
Underlining the effectiveness of the CDM in facilitating financing and technology transfer in waste management, Nuno Barbosa, UniCarbo Energia e Biogás, highlighted the growing number of landfill gas (LFG) projects globally, pointing to: an LFG project in Salvdor de Bahia, which produces electricity for 200,000 people; and a Caieiras landfill emission reduction project, which generates 1.4 million tons of certified emission reductions annually.
Chandra Shekhar Sinha, World Bank, reported on the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF), which aims to stimulate private investment in projects that reduce GHGs. This climate fund, he reported, amounting to US $53.9 million for up to 20.6 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, sets a floor price for future carbon credits.
In the ensuing discussion, participants raised concerns on, among others: the low level of public funding to the PAF; urban forestry projects under the CDM; the use of blockchain for neighborhood energy transactions, and related implications for monitoring, review and verification; and the future role of projects under the CDM.
This event addressed the ocean and climate nexus as a key component to raise ambition and achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Moderator Loreley Picourt, Secretary General, Ocean and Climate Platform, introduced the Platform, which was established at COP 21 as a multi-stakeholder coalition working on the science-policy interface.
In her keynote address, Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France, said achieving healthy oceans is a priority for France, and urged for increased collaboration for nature-based solutions. She highlighted efforts to increase momentum and cooperation including through the June 2020 IUCN World Conservation Conference to be held in Marseille.
Valérie Masson Delmotte, IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair, presented the conclusions of the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. She stressed the need for new strategies to reinforce climate change resilience, noting that the Report highlights the impacts of ocean warming on coral reefs, forests, ocean species, mangroves and polar regions.
Raphaël Cuvelier, Vice-President, Ocean and Climate Platform, and Senior Advisor, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, presented on the Platform’s policy recommendations titled a “Healthy Ocean, A Protected Climate,” which provides policymakers and stakeholders with accessible and reliable solutions and measures to conserve oceans. The recommendations, he reported, focus on four key challenges: mitigation, adaptation, science, and sustainable finance.
Rémy Rioux, CEO, AFD, presented development agency perspectives to climate change adaptation. He reported support for 250 projects globally, including the Clean Ocean Initiative aimed at combating plastic pollution in rivers and oceans. He added that AFD is heading the International Development Finance Club, a collaboration of 26 development agencies, to mobilize financing for nature-based solutions to address climate change.
Anna Zivian, Ocean Conservancy, discussing ecosystem services and marine protected areas (MPAs), said marine ecosystems, such as corals, mangroves and sea grasses, also referred to as blue carbon, are an important part of climate change solutions. She highlighted options for ocean-related climate action, such as eliminating carbon emissions from the shipping industry, fisheries and aquaculture, and highlighted co-benefits from MPAs including for fisheries and combating harmful algal blooms.
In the ensuing discussion, participants considered: MPA partnerships with Tonga and other vulnerable small island developing states (SIDS); an “ocean identity” as part of a global ocean-climate framework; and the need for education and public participation to bring oceans to the fore in addressing climate change.