Climate Change: Marine Environment

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 25 March 2024.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Labour, Manchester, Gorton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential connection between global ocean protection and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government recognises that climate change and biodiversity loss, alongside other human pressures, are having a detrimental impact on ocean health. Ocean action can be part of our response to both challenges; protecting and restoring coastal and marine habitats can provide a wide array of benefits, including flood protection, improving biodiversity, carbon sequestration and supporting ecosystems to be more resilient to climate impacts.

The UK plays a leading role in advocating for nature and ocean to be embedded in global climate action. The annual UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue was established under our COP26 Presidency. At COP28, we worked with international partners to secure a negotiated decision for the first Global Stocktake which encouraged the strengthening of ocean-based climate action.

As Chair of the Global Ocean Alliance, the UK successfully led calls for ambitious and meaningful outcomes for the ocean from the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15. As agreed at that COP, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework includes commitments to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030, restore degraded ecosystems and to tackle the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification, with Parties noting the interlinkage between these targets.

The UK played a significant and proactive role in securing The Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement which will mean much greater protection for the two-thirds of the global ocean that lies beyond national jurisdiction. The Agreement will play a key role supporting the delivery of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, including helping to achieve the target to effectively conserve and manage at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Financed from the UK aid budget, the £500 million Blue Planet Fund supports developing countries to reduce poverty, protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and address human-generated threats across four interlinked key themes, one of which is climate change.

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