The United Nations climate change conference is underway in Glasgow, Scotland, until November 12. Acadia's president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Peter Ricketts, is attending and will lead two panel discussions on the role of oceans.
With much of the world's attention slowly shifting from the COVID-19 pandemic back to solving the climate crisis, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) brings together climate scientists, researchers, activists, and decision-makers from around the globe to discuss climate change – specifically, how all parties can coordinate to reach the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement.
"COP25 in Madrid saw the inclusion of oceans in the formal negotiations, and at COP26, we have the opportunity to increase the ambition and delivery of concrete actions to reduce the adverse impacts that climate change is having on the world's oceans and coasts," says Dr. Ricketts, who has attended the last four COP meetings. "It is important that leaders in all areas of society contribute to the efforts to reduce climate change so that our current students and youth are not overburdened with fighting the impacts of this crisis."
The Agreement, which was negotiated at COP21 in Paris in the fall of 2015, created ambitious long-term goals aimed at drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions to halt the rapid rise of global temperatures. Specifically, to keep the rise in the mean global temperature well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and preferably limit the increase to 1.5 °C. The Agreement also fixes a goal of net-zero emissions by the middle of the 21st century. Today, the accelerating pace of climate change has focussed attention on the target of 1.5 °C, with the COP meeting being seen as the last best chance the world has to make that target attainable.
Dr. Ricketts is a member of the International Coastal and Ocean Organization (ICO) Board of Directors and will be attending the Glasgow summit as an accredited ICO participant. During COP26, the Final Report of the Roadmap for Ocean and Coastal Action (ROCA) will be published. Dr. Ricketts contributed to the report's writing, along with Acadia alumna Emilia Gandslant ('20), with primary responsibility for the section on adaptation and resilience to climate change.
On Thursday, November 4 at 4:45 p.m. GMT, Dr. Ricketts took part in a discussion on Ocean Solutions: coordination and collaboration for ocean-based mitigation and adaptation with presenters from the US, England, Portugal, Japan and Scotland. (Watch the video recording.)
On Friday, November 5 at 9 a.m. GMT Dr. Ricketts will address and moderate a live panel, Ocean and Adaptation and Resilience: Creating and implementing the enabling conditions for action through science, capacity building, and other cross-cutting approaches.
Many prominent figures are attending COP26, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the United States Joe Biden, and youth climate activist Greta Thunberg. Dr. Ricketts will engage with Canada's official delegation to promote the importance of addressing climate impacts on oceans and coasts in the final communique.
Acadia University has an exhibitor's booth in the Virtual Ocean Pavilion, which registered users can view (registration is free). Visit the Acadia Exhibition Booth to explore the information.