COP26: positioning seaweed as a powerful ocean-based climate solution

Nov 16, 2021 | Climate Change

COP26 brought the seaweed family together to position seaweed as a multifaceted ocean-based solution to tackle Climate Change. In the Blue Food session organized by our UNGC partners, seaweed –presented as a powerful tool for bridging nutrition needs with climate action – moved to the forefront of the conversation. Our founding partners from CNRS and UNGC signed the Ocean for Climate Declaration and urged UNFCCC State parties to intensify efforts towards a just transition to ocean-based climate solutions. The United States sent a strong signal by joining the Ocean Panel and highlighting possibilities for carbon capture and storage through kelp farming. Ocean-based solutions underpinned by science must be part of global mitigation and adaptation efforts, with seaweed as the keystone, Safe Seaweed Coalition’s Vincent Doumeizel stressed on Ocean Action Day. And Mara Seaweed raised attendees’ awareness about seaweed’s numerous nutritional and environmental benefits by placing it on every plate!

The SDG Pavilion became the epicentre of the Seaweed Revolution on Saturday 6th (recording here), with a dedicated session and powerful insights from a great line of speakers. “We refuse the perspective of a 3-degree future for our children,” Ambassador Peter Thomson declared, pointing to seaweed as part of a sustainable future we can all envision. Seaweed farming can sequester three times more carbon per hectare than one hectare of tropical forest, according to current studies led by Professor Carlos Duarte. In addition to its regenerative and climate change mitigating qualities, the development of seaweed farming and products will help achieve social justice for vulnerable communities, Shakuntala Thilsted (WorldFish, 2021 World Food Prize Laureate) emphasized. Yet, as Daniel Crockett of Blue Marine Foundation pointed out, only 1% of global finance is dedicated to SDG14 and protecting underwater biodiversity, and the role kelp forests play in preserving life is generally overlooked.

The Safe Seaweed Coalition can be a strong tool for the sector to safely scale up and unlock its full potential for climate change mitigation. As Cascadia’s Mike Williamson pointed out, the seaweed sector has one of the highest annual growth rates of all food production sectors. That performance can be responsibly scaled up to drive an environmentally restorative revolution that can reduce our negative impact on both land and sea.

The Ocean is and will continue to be a major front in the fight against climate change, and seaweed will be at the heart of this combat. Building on the momentum of COP26, the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2022 will be a critical opportunity to crystallize seaweed’s role as a solution to our planetary crisis. More than ever, we need to accelerate and grow collaboration with investors, policy-makers, and other stakeholders so the seaweed sector can play its full part in the fight against Climate Change!