Ocean is staunch ally in climate change fight
Bermuda-based international specialty re/insurer Convex Group Limited has thrown its financial muscle behind the battle to slow climate change.
The company has announced a multimillion-dollar partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, a UK-registered charity dedicated to restoring the ocean to health, and the University of Exeter and its foremost researchers, with the launch of the Convex Blue Carbon Seascape Survey.
Bringing together a multidisciplinary team made up of world-class ocean and blue carbon scientists, Convex said, this ambitious five-year global research programme is the biggest attempt yet to build a greater understanding of the properties and capabilities of the ocean and its continental shelves in the earth’s carbon cycle, in the urgent effort to slow climate change.
Convex said that the ocean could be our staunchest ally in our fight against climate change; however, its impact remains an unsolved yet fundamental question.
In a time of global emergency, the seascape could provide much-needed answers as well as nature-based solutions to the current climate crisis.
Spearheaded by BLUE and the University of Exeter, and in collaboration with leading scientific institutions worldwide, the survey will provide timely, accurate and open-access data on the world’s seabed carbon stores.
This research is essential, the company said. Studies have shown that ocean-based mitigation could provide up to a fifth of the solution needed to limit global warming to 1.5C and narrow the emissions gap.
Yet the ocean seabed remains largely unprotected and seascape carbon is presently not accounted for in the inventories of carbon emissions compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
Stephen Catlin, chairman and CEO of Convex, said: “Anticipating and mitigating future risks is at the heart of what we do at Convex. Our ability to make informed decisions rests upon our access to and analysis of robust data — the same is true when combating climate change.
“Significant results will take global effort. This survey will encompass the expertise of scientists spanning continents and will build upon the research gathered from the Catlin Arctic Survey and the Catlin Seaview Survey. This is a huge opportunity to support cutting-edge and impactful research.”
Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at the University of Exeter as well as BLUE’s chief scientific adviser and trustee, said: “The ocean and its resources, while vital to all life on earth, are currently misunderstood and neglected.
“The survey endeavours to bring much-needed clarity to our understanding of the ocean, including the amount of carbon stored in coastal seascapes and on the continental shelves, as well as how vulnerable these stores are to man-made damage.”
He added: “The survey should clearly demonstrate the immense value to be found in our oceans and the global impetus to protect it. It is through meaningful support from visionary businesses like Convex that such crucial research is made possible.”
Professor Lisa Roberts, vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: "This exciting partnership is a wonderful example of Exeter's research leadership, and through Convex’s philanthropy we will be better equipped to train the next generation of global marine scientists as well as help inform future policy and management practices.”
George Duffield, co-founder of BLUE, said: “What distinguishes our project from others is that we will not stop having identified the problems — we plan to field test the solutions as well.”
Convex was founded by Mr Catlin and Paul Brand in April 2019 and operates out of Bermuda and London.
The Blue Marine Foundation was set up in 2010 by some of the team behind the 2009 award-winning documentary film The End of the Line, which was co-produced by Mr Duffield and which has screened in Bermuda.
BLUE aims to restore the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. BLUE is dedicated to creating marine reserves, restoring vital habitats and establishing models of sustainable fishing.
The organisation’s mission is to see at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030.
The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the university ranked 16th nationally, with 98 per cent of its research rated as being of international quality.