Ocean research and monitoring are vital to understanding climate change, variability, the impacts on people, the health of vital marine ecosystems, and developing climate mitigation solutions, such as generation of renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, restoring natural carbon sinks, and increasing resilience to climate impacts through improved extreme weather forecasting.
Problem: Ocean and climate science need research ships because, although new ocean sensing technologies are being developed, there are many things only a ship can do. A large oceanographic research vessel can emit over 6,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year – but at the same time we need more data not less, because the ocean is already under-sampled and is rapidly changing.
Solution: Invest in new technologies that can massively increase coverage of continuous global, underwater ocean monitoring but without necessarily having to increase the number of research ships. Commit and plan now for the next generation of research ships built in the decade 2030–2040 to be Zero Emissions Vessels, taking early advantage of developments in ship-design, green fuels, and shore infrastructures needed to decarbonise shipping more generally.