Ocean and climate experts gather to discuss critical point in planet’s future

Source: press release, 1 September 2021

illustration: IMarEST
illustration: IMarEST

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) will provide a forum for experts, practitioners and ocean users to discuss climate change and the oceans, the theme of its 4th biennial Oceans of Knowledge conference. Organised by the Institute’s Special Interest Group (SIG) on Operational Oceanography, the 2-day conference will address three key themes: firstly, the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources, secondly, its role in natural and engineered climate mitigation and thirdly, rising sea levels and coastal vulnerability.

The conference is endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the busy programme includes talks by world-class speakers from leading organisations, including the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Schmidt Ocean Institute and the International Energy Agency. The discussions will focus attention on how better understanding the ocean will help ensure its future use as a source of energy and food is balanced with the need to protect ocean ecosystem services upon which we all ultimately depend.

“This is an opportunity to hear from leading climate change specialists and to gain an understanding of how mitigating and adapting to climate change will impact the use of the ocean and ocean resources. The day dedicated to rising sea levels will then explore impacts where the ocean meets the land, seeking to better predict and respond to the challenges of protecting coastal communities, infrastructure and the environment.” Ralph Rayner, Co-Chair, IMarEST Operational Oceanography SIG.

Scene-setting keynotes will highlight current scientific understanding of the ocean-related aspects of climate change. Policy responses at a national and international level will be placed into the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

“The next 10 years are now widely accepted as critical for climate action. This high profile event, leading directly into COP26, makes a key contribution to the UN Ocean Decade. We are very also excited by the collaboration with other learned societies and professional bodies that are supporting this conference,” says Gus Jeans, Co-Chair, IMarEST Operational Oceanography SIG.

Key outcomes of the conference are planned to be conveyed at a COP26 side event and exhibition, and to inform further publications on the subject.