National climate goals under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) are currently insufficient to address the climate crisis. Yet the promise of the Agreement is that it created not only an initial set of commitments but also a “ratchet” cycle, in which countries submit national climate goals every five years. Subsequent submissions are to be increasingly ambitious.
Until recently, the international climate effort and the ocean conservation effort have been largely siloed. Although a majority of countries referenced the ocean in their first round of national climate goals under the Paris Agreement, only a minority discussed ocean actions as climate solutions. Fewer than 20 percent of countries with coastal blue carbon ecosystems, for example, discussed their role as carbon sinks.
There is now increasing recognition of the linkages between the ocean and climate change. As Parties to the Paris Agreement begin to communicate and update their second round of national climate goals, this policy brief tracks the inclusion of concrete, ocean-based climate actions. It sorts commitments first by ocean-based solution and then by country. Updates to this brief will post regularly, as countries submit further NDCs.
As of the November 2020 update, seven of the nine coastal countries that have submitted NDCs have committed to ocean-based mitigation or adaptation.
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