Ocean and Climate: the maritime economy put to the test by ecological transition


From August 20th to August 23rd, Surfrider Foundation Europe is setting up the Ocean Pavilion for four days of meetings prior to Biarritz’s G7 summit that should allow ocean preservation to be a part of the diplomatic negotiations. Throughout conferences and discussions, the Ocean Pavilion will focus on four thematics, among which declining marine biodiversity, a key issue that will have its own dedicated day (on August 21st) within this exceptional event.

An economic sector still too polluting

The maritime economy emerged a long time ago. But since the advent of the industrial era, the sector has experienced unprecedented growth. As a result, it now provides a source of income for millions of men and women around the world. With 90% of the total flow of goods, shipping is the leading mode of transport, particularly because of its relatively low economic cost.

But the environmental cost of such traffic is considerable, even though maritime transport is a good student compared to air and road transport. The energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of commercial ships can no longer be ignored in the current climate context. Given the importance of the sector and its exponential growth, they must be reduced without further delay.

Especially since shipping is at the origin of many other types of pollution, all of which are equally harmful to marine life. Oil spills, degassing or container losses at sea add to the air pollution, which according to the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) is expected to increase by 50 to 250% by 2050 if the current status quo remains unchanged. This will further exacerbate climate deregulation, ocean warming and rising water levels already at work.

For a more responsible blue economy

Making the ocean economy more respectful of biodiversity and climate is one of Surfrider Foundation Europe's main missions. Through the implementation of a label to measure and reduce CO2 emissions produced by maritime transport, Surfrider Europe intends to work hand in hand with shipowners and other companies in the sector.

The Ocean Pavilion will therefore focus on the commitments that certain key players in the maritime economy have made in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This last day, dedicated to the relationship between the ocean and climate, will aim to think about the different levers that could encourage all the other actors in the sector to effectively register their activities as part of the ecological transition.

On the agenda for the day: the ecological transition of maritime transport will be the subject of a first conference session. Making the blue economy greener than it is today will then occupy the second part of the discussions. Personalities from the business world, citizens' movements and European institutions will be invited to speak. Finally, this last day will conclude the 4 days of Ocean Pavilion meetings with the presentation of an Ocean Call, an official declaration detailing the challenges that all the stakeholders of the Ocean Pavilion are committed to meeting in order to preserve the Ocean. On this basis, they will in turn invite the heads of state at the G7 to act on a political level.

The Ocean Pavilion

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