Friday, November 4, 2022

Oceans & Blue Carbon at COP27

[Origin article: The Blue Forests Project / 4 Nov 2022 / Oceans & Blue Carbon at COP27]

This "live blog" features oceans, blue forests, and coastal and oceanic blue carbon related side events and discussions at UNFCCC COP27 (6 - 18 Nov). This post will be updated throughout the COP.

For any suggested updates or edits please email: steven.lutz (@)

(Last update 9 Nov, Version 5)

Useful links

COP 27 side events schedule


IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference COP 27


COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion

Link: (registration needed)

UNESCO's IOC at the Climate COP27


International Partnership for Blue Carbon calendar of blue carbon events


Sunday, 6 Novenber

Monday, 7 November

Global Mangroves into 2030/2050 – Ramsar COP14

2:15 - 13:15 EET, Plenary C

Website link Global Mangroves into 2030/2050 – Ramsar COP14

Lead organization: Mangrove Foundation (MCF), China (lead), National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), P.R.C., United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Wetlands International (WI), SEE Conservation, Vanke Foundation

This side event will review the progress and challenges on global mangrove conservation, promote consensus among stakeholders in protecting mangrove and blue carbon, and mobilize science-based innovation and synchronized actions in the next decade, under the vision 2050 on biodiversity. It also calls for all parties to support development of international mangrove protection and collaboration mechanism, as well as facilitate the establishment of International Mangrove Center.

Tuesday, 8 November

Ocean Future Lab

8:30 am - 10:00 am EET, Nature Pavillion, Blue Zone 

Organisers: High-Level Champions, GCA Ocean & Coastal Zones & partners of Ocean Action Events, Ocean & Climate Platform, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Ocean-based mitigation and adaptation

9:00 am - 10:00 am EET, Ocean Pavilion, Blue Zone

Organisers: The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation

Blue Carbon in Blue Economy Development and Achievement of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets

10:00 - 11:20 am, Indonesia Pavilion, D2

Organisers: Indonesia

Streamed here: (timestamped to event)

Carbon Removal using Coastal Blue Carbon Ecosystems

10:30 - 11:30 am EET, Atoms4 Climate Pavilion

Organisers: IAEA

IAEA is investigating the potential of vegetated coastal ecosystems as a natural climate solution to increase carbon dioxide draw-down from atmosphere and long-term storage in sediments.

This roundtable shall discuss the effectiveness of this nature-based solution for carbon sequestration and the potential of these ecosystems to preserve biodiversity.

Streamed here:

IAEA News article: IAEA COP27 Event Focuses on Blue Carbon as a Nature-Based Climate Solution

Global Leadership on Blue Carbon: Keys to Success

11:00 am - 12:00 pm EET, Nature Pavillion, Blue Zone

Organisers: Conservation International, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Building resilience in blue carbon ecosystems for coastal communities

1:00 pm - 1:55 pm AEDT, Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion, Blue Zone 

Organisers: The Commonwealth Blue Charter

Flyer Building resilience in blue carbon ecosystems for coastal communities

Innovative, Sustainable Finance

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EET, Nature Pavillion, Blue Zone

Organisers: The Nature Conservancy

Bahamas national statement to COP27

13:00 EET, High-Level Segment

Philip Davis, Prime Minister of Bahamas delivers his national statement during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government summit on the third day of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference.

Transcript of Bahamian statement to COP27

Bloomberg transcript and audio recording of interview with PM Davis' COP27 on his statement

Ocean Knowledge for Climate Resilience

14:30 - 15:30 EET, Bellona Pavilion

Flyer Ocean Knowledge for Climate Resilience

Connectivity and collaboration as tools for ocean-climate action in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EET, Nature Pavillion, Blue Zone 

Organisers: The Pew Charitable Trusts

Wednesday, 9 November

Whose Ocean Is It Anyway? Why Ocean Heritage Matters for Climate Change Mitigation

09:00 - 10:30 am EET, Virtual Ocean Pavilion

Organizers: Ocean Decade Heritage Network, Cultural Heritage Framework Programme (CHFP), and Edinburgh Marine Archaeology (University of Edinburgh)

Streaming at the Virtual Ocean Pavilion (registration needed)

Clearing the Blue Carbon Highway: Governance, Benefit Sharing and Rights

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm EET, Ocean Pavilion, Blue Zone 

Organisers: Blue Marine Foundation

Seagrass - the new frontier in blue carbon credits?

11:00 - 12:30 EET, Virtual Ocean Pavilion

Organizers: Fauna & Flora International in collaboration with Akdeniz Koruma Dernegi, Blue Ventures, Project Seagrass

Streaming at the Virtual Ocean Pavilion (registration needed)

Communicating Ocean Science for Climate Action

15:45 - 16:45 EET, UNESCO Pavilion 

Organisers: IOC-UNESCO

Flyer Communicating Ocean Science for Climate Action (register to watch the livestream)

International finance opportunities: Gaps and needs for ocean-based climate action towards implementing SDG14.3

16:00 - 17:00 EET, Pacific Pavilion 

Organisers: IOC-UNESCO

Flyer International finance opportunities: Gaps and needs for ocean-based climate action towards implementing SDG14.3

Harnessing Finance for Addressing Climate-Ocean Change

14:00 - 15:00 EET, Virtual Ocean Pavilion

Organizers: International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, the Global Fund for Coral Reefs

Streaming at the Virtual Ocean Pavilion (registration needed)

Thursday, 10 November

Fishing for climate resilience: Unlocking the collective potential of vulnerable, coastal communities for climate action

9:00 am EET

Organisers: Rare, GLISPA

Coastal Wetlands in National and Sub-national Climate Strategies: Nature-Based Solutions in Practice

9:00 am - 10:00 am AEDT, Nature Pavillion, Blue Zone

Organisers/Moderators – Pew Charitable Trusts

Theme: Moderated panel sharing key learnings from countries and US states at various stages of implementing current, and developing future, targets for their coastal “blue carbon” habitats – mangrove, seagrass and saltmarsh – as nature-based solutions within national and subnational climate strategies.

Towards an innovative integrated transformative action to tackle climate change

11:00 - 12:00 am EET, Mediterranean Pavilion

Oganisers: EMEA

Event link Towards an innovative integrated transformative action to tackle climate change

The event presents the latest science- based innovative initiatives that are exploring how to align most recent pioneering scientific knowledge, research with sustainability to tackle decisively climate change challenges. The event is organised by EMEA and gathers founders from Minderoo Foundation , Rebalance Earth, IMF research on Nature Based Solutions, Brain Capital Alliance, the Blue Green World, and Switchmed to accelerate sustainability, that tackles climate change challenges from a trans-disciplinary perspective, linking economy, biodiversity, neuroscience, urban planning and finance.

Topic 1: Towards a new paradigm of “Nature Capital” – Nature based solutions embedded in the capacity of wild species to sequester carbon dioxide and new pricing models. Panelist: Ralph Chami (IMF)

The Mangrove Breakthrough Launch

10:30 am - 11:00 am EET

Organisers: Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) and the High-Level Champions

Blue carbon: establishing policy and enhancing implementation based on science

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm EET, Korea Pavilion, Blue Zone 

Organisers: Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, KOEM, Kunsan National University

Friday, 11 November

Fish are Carbon Engineers

8 - 9 am EET, Ocean Pavilion

Organisers: Our Fish

Fish, like whales and plankton, are keystones of the ocean’s biological pump, the system constantly at work capturing and storing excess carbon from the atmosphere. Fisheries Management can help to conserve that system and in turn combat climate change. The Ocean & Climate Change Dialogue 2022 made clear that we must protect our ocean AND value its potential as a place for sustainable climate solutions and action. The UNFCCC must now acknowledge and mainstream good fisheries management as good carbon management. 

Representatives from civil society, government and the scientific community will discuss the evidence in support of fisheries management as carbon management and what opportunities exist for maximising this to deliver on climate action commitments.

Event link (video will be avaliable here)

Ocean acidification, climate and society - mitigation and adaptation opportunities and challenges towards addressing SDG14.3

09:00-10:00 am EET, IAEA Pavilion

Organisers: IOC-UNESCO

Ocean x Climate Summit

10:00 am - 5:00 pm (all day summit) Park Regency in Sharm El-Sheikh (10 minutes from the Blue Zone)

Website Ocean x Climate Summit (registration required)

Agenda includes:

10:30 AM - Blue Horizons: Promise & Potential for the Future of Our Ocean - Scientific discovery, ocean exploration, and technological innovation all demonstrate how the ocean is our greatest ally in addressing climate change.

4:10 PM - The value of a living ocean to our health and economic well being - Keynote: Ralph Chami Assistant Director, The International Monetary Fund; Co-Founder, Rebalance Earth

4:30 PM - The Future of Blue Carbon - Blue Carbon is a key topic at this COP. This discussion will pull together the main issues and provide clarity on what needs to be done to unlock the potential of Blue Carbon.

Blue carbon: the ocean's role in fighting climate change

15:00 - 16:00 pm EET, Ocean Pavillion

Organized by: National Oceanography Centre

There is no climate solution without the ocean, and research will help us to continue to understand and harness the ocean’s unique contribution. The term “blue carbon” may be used holistically to refer to the uptake and storage of carbon dioxide in marine systems by physical, chemical and biological ocean processes - from the coast to the deep ocean. Blue carbon approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation are being discussed more and more by policy-makers and this event aims to ensure that policy is driven by science, delivering the climate change impacts we all need.

GOOS Panelists: Anya Waite (CEO at OFI, GOOS Co-Chair)

Saturday, 12 November

Mangrove Blue Carbon Market Opportunities

9:00 am - 10:00 am EET, Savoy Sharm El Sheikh

Organisers: Global Landscape Forum

Ocean change: Adaptation and mitigation opportunities and challenges

10:30 am EET, Ocean Pavilion, Blue Zone

Organisers: IOC-UNESCO

This side event will provide a platform to explore the opportunities & challenges for nations and stakeholders related to observing and understanding ocean change; local & regional adaptation mechanisms to a rapidly changing ocean; including the conservation and restoration of carbon rich ecosystems, the safe implementation of ocean carbon dioxide removal technologies; and climate smart ocean management for supporting sustainable development and protecting ocean life and those that depend on it.

Monday, 14 November

Setting global nature-based solutions standards

9:00 am - 10:00 am EET, Nature Pavillion, Blue Zone

Organisers: Australia, The Pew Charitable Trusts

World Mangrove Center: Integrated and Sustainable Mangrove Management Towards Indonesia's FOLU Net Sink 2030

11:30 - 12:50, Indonesia Pavillion, A8

Organisers: Indonesia

Streamed here:

International Blue Carbon Institute Launch

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm EET, Singapore Pavilion

The International Blue Carbon Institute will accelerate and scale blue carbon implementation in Asia and beyond though science, training, and development of essential technical capacity, methodologies, and tools.

Invitation International Blue Carbon Institute Launch

Tuesday, 15 November

Ocean-Based Climate Solutions: Enabling Frameworks for Action

12:30 - 1:30 PM EET, Climate Education Hub, Blue Zone

Organisers: Ocean Visions

Website Ocean Visions at COP27

Watch live here:

Partnerships to accelerate action to protect blue carbon ecosystems for mitigation and adaptation

1:15 pm - 2:45 pm EET, Thutmose Room, Blue Zone

Organisers: Australia and IOC-UNESCO on behalf of the International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC), The Pew Charitable Trusts

Jointly combating the Climate and Biodiversity crises: the critical role of Nature-based Solutions

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm EET, Thebes Room, Blue Zone 

Organisers: IUCN, World Resources Institute

Ocean-Climate-Society: challenges & opportunities for ocean mitigation, adaptation, finance & UNFCCC

4:45 pm - 6:15 pm EET, Memphis Room, Blue Zone

Organisers: Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Blue Marine Foundation, European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD), Rare, University of Strathclyde

Wednesday, 16 November

Blue Climate Solutions: Considering the Ocean’s Role in Our Path to Net Negative Emissions

9:30 - 11:00 AM, Ocean Pavilion

Organisers: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Every path to a sustainable climate future must pass through the ocean. We will discuss the scientific basis for ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches to complement deep emissions reductions, as well as the research agenda, governance structure, investment needs, and ethical framework necessary to ensure a sustainable climate future for all.

Footnotes Cover photo: Ricardo Liberato, Wikipedia

Monday, January 31, 2022

Ethical carbon offsetting has a role to play in tackling the climate crisis

A response to Monbiot's 26 January article Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it -

The Guardian / 31 Jan 2022 / Ethical carbon offsetting has a role to play in tackling the climate crisis

Prof Mark Huxham and Mukti Kumar Mitchell on concerns about the viability of carbon offsets in response to an article by George Monbiot. Plus Barbara Foster and MSR Seshu on the climate implications of flights

George Monbiot makes important points about the role of nature-based solutions (Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it, 26 January). We need to preserve our natural forests, mangroves, sea grasses and peatlands to slow current heating levels, and we need to restore and expand them to deal with our legacy carbon. But in suggesting that all offsetting is simply greenwashing, he does a disservice to the hundreds of community-based projects that are working to improve lives and conserve natural carbon sinks.

The Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services helps people in Kenya protect their mangrove forests and use money from the sale of carbon credits for water, education and health. The forests, the money and the projects belong to them. We do not take money from fossil-fuel companies, but rather from individuals and small corporations that are committed to reducing emissions but still want to compensate for those that they cannot avoid.

This is ethical offsetting and it has an important role to play. Please don’t confuse this with the corporate greenwashing of big oil. 

Prof Mark Huxham
Convener, Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services

In pointing out the misuse of carbon offsetting by multinationals, George Monbiot only shows one side of the coin. In my 25 years of working to save CO2, I avoided offsets for two reasons: failed offsets, such as forests dying, and future offsets, eg claiming that a flight to New York today is offset by planting trees that take 50 years to absorb the same amount of CO2. But we need a way to fund the drawdown of excess CO2 in the atmosphere (estimated at up to a trillion tonnes). To do this, carbon sequestration activities need a rapid injection of cash, which offsetting can provide. Certification has dealt with offset failures and there are now genuine time-bound offsets available that only count CO2 absorbed in, say, the current year.

Whether they pay to replace wood stoves with solar stoves in Africa or to finance British farmers to adopt low-carbon practices, offsets are essential to reach net zero. The question is not whether offsets are good or bad, but which ones are good. 

Mukti Kumar Mitchell
Director, Carbon Savvy

For some time I have felt that there was something amiss about flying off to some distant land for a holiday and salving one’s conscience by paying a carbon offsetting charge. Thank you, George Monbiot, for making it clear why the climate catastrophe will not be solved this way. Planting a few more trees with one hand while destroying forests or drilling for more oil with the other does not pass muster. Those of us of mature years who have created the problem should be first to try to limit our carbon footprints. 

Barbara Foster
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Your report (26 January) that at least 100,000 ghost flights could be flown across Europe this winter makes for highly disturbing reading. The consequential impact on the climate through the flights’ release of an estimated 2.1m tonnes of greenhouse gases is mind-boggling. All this being imposed just to force airlines to retain their slots at airports is irresponsible and inhuman. Whatever is happening to the commitments made by European nations at Cop26? 

MSR Seshu
Secunderabad, India


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it


Concerns over the recent dramatic increase in nature-based carbon offsetting -

George Monbiot / The Guardain / 26 Jan 2022 / Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it

Wealthy companies are using the facade of ‘nature-based solutions’ to enact a great carbon land grab

There is nothing that cannot be corrupted, nothing good that cannot be transformed into something bad. And there is no clearer example than the great climate land grab.

We now know that it’s not enough to leave fossil fuels in the ground and decarbonise our economies. We’ve left it too late. To prevent no more than 1.5C of heating, we also need to draw down some of the carbon already in the atmosphere.

By far the most effective means are “nature-based solutions”: using the restoration of living systems such as forests, salt marshes, peat bogs and the seafloor to extract carbon dioxide from the air and lock it up, mostly in trees or waterlogged soil and mud. Three years ago, a small group of us launched the Natural Climate Solutions campaign to draw attention to the vast potential for stalling climate breakdown and a sixth mass extinction through the mass revival of ecosystems.

While it is hard to see either climate or ecological catastrophe being prevented without such large-scale rewilding, we warned that it should not be used as a substitute for decarbonising economic life, or to allow corporations to offset greenhouse gases that shouldn’t be produced in the first place. We found ourselves having to shed a large number of partner organisations because of their deals with offset companies.

But our warnings, and those of many others, went unheeded. Something that should be a great force for good has turned into a corporate gold rush, trading in carbon credits. A carbon credit represents one tonne of greenhouse gases, deemed to have been avoided or removed from the atmosphere. Over the past few months, the market for these credits has boomed.

There are two legitimate uses of nature-based solutions: removing historic carbon from the air, and counteracting a small residue of unavoidable emissions once we have decarbonised the rest of the economy. Instead, they are being widely used as an alternative for effective action. Rather than committing to leave fossil fuels in the ground, oil and gas firms continue to prospect for new reserves while claiming that the credits they buy have turned them “carbon neutral”.

For example, Shell’s Drive Carbon Neutral scheme tells businesses that by buying fuel on its loyalty card, the “unavoidable” emissions from their fleets of vehicles can be offset “through Shell’s global portfolio of nature-based solutions projects”. It assures customers that, by joining the programme, “you don’t even have to change the way you work”. Similar claims by Shell in the Netherlands were struck down by the country’s advertising watchdog.

The French company Total is hoping to develop new oilfields in the Republic of the Congo and off the coast of Suriname. It has sought to justify these projects with nature-based solutions: in Suriname by providing money to the government for protecting existing forests, and in Congo by planting an area of savannah with fast-growing trees.

This project is extremely controversial. If the drilling goes ahead it will help to break open a region of extremely rich forests and wetlands that sits on top of the biggest peat deposit in the tropics, potentially threatening a huge natural carbon store. The rare savannah habitat the company wants to convert into plantations to produce timber and biomass has scarcely been explored by ecologists. It’s likely to harbour a far greater range of life than the exotic trees the oil company wants to plant. It is also likely to belong to local people though their customary rights, which are unrecognised in Congolese law, were not mentioned in Total’s press release about the deal. In other words, the offset project, far from compensating for the damage caused by oil drilling, could compound it.

These are not the only issues. In all such cases, an extremely stable bank of carbon – the fossil fuels buried below geological strata – is being swapped for less secure stores: habitats on the Earth’s surface. Last year, forests being used as corporate offsets were incinerated by the wildfires raging across North America. It’s also hard in some cases to prove that offset money has made a real difference. For example, two of Shell’s projects have been criticised on the grounds that the forests they claim to defend may not be at risk. These schemes often rely on untestable counterfactuals: what would have happened if this money had not been spent?

While there are international standards for how carbon should be counted, there is no accounting for the moral hazard of carbon offsets: the false assurance that persuades us we need not change the way we live. There is no accounting for the way companies use these projects to justify business as usual. There is no accounting for how they use this greenwashing to persuade governments not to regulate them. Nature-based solutions should help us to avoid systemic environmental collapse. Instead, they are helping to accelerate it.

And then there’s a small issue of land. There is simply not enough land on Earth to soak up corporate greenhouse gas emissions. Oxfam estimates that the land required to meet carbon removal plans by businesses could amount to five times the size of India – more than the entire area of farmland on the planet. And much of it rightfully belongs to indigenous and other local people, who in many cases have not given their consent. This process has a name: carbon colonialism.

During the Cop26 climate summit in November last year, the government of the Malaysian state of Sabah announced a carbon credits deal with foreign corporations covering an astonishing 2m hectares (5m acres) of forest. Indigenous people say they knew nothing about it.

In Scotland, Shell is spending £5m extending the Glengarry forest. While Scotland needs more trees, it also needs a much better distribution of land. As big corporations and financiers pile into this market, land prices are rising so fast that local people, some of whom would like to run their own rewilding and reforestation projects, are being shut out.

A better strategy would be to spend money on strengthening the land rights of indigenous people, who tend to be the most effective guardians of ecosystems and the carbon they contain. Where communities don’t own land, they should be funded to buy it back and restore its missing habitats. But none of these projects should be counted against the fossil fuels we should leave in the ground.

Yes, we need to restore life on Earth. Yes, we need to draw down as much carbon as we can. But we cannot let this crucial tool be turned against us.