National Oceanography Centre at COP28

At COP28, nations will unite in a collaborative effort to address and advance the global climate objectives outlined in the Paris Agreement and the Convention. This is the 28th annual conference taking place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 at Expo City, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

As one of the world’s leading centres of expertise on the ocean’s interaction with climate change, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will once again be partnering with leaders in ocean science, engineering, and policy to host the Ocean Pavilion in the conference’s ‘Blue Zone’.

This hub of information will keep you in the loop with our key messages, key COP events that we'll be hosting and attending, and links to our latest COP28 blog posts. To keep up to date with our delegation in Dubai make sure to follow us on social media and check out our hashtag ‘#NOCatCOP28’.

Professor Ed Hill’s COP28 statement

  • Prof. Ed Hill

    Through its capacity to mop-up billions, and store out of harm’s way, trillions of tonnes of carbon, the ocean can be our best friend in efforts to stabilise and eventually reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, but it can no longer be taken for granted that the ocean will just carry on doing its thing for us.

  • In the same way no one would responsibly treat a patient in the hospital emergency room without first hooking them up to monitors for their vital life signs - to inform treatment, check it’s working and to watch out for unexpected complications setting in - so comprehensive, continuous, globally distributed monitoring of the ocean’s surface and its depths need to be viewed, governed, funded, operated as a critical global data infrastructure.

NOC’s key COP28 messages

We are joining partners of the Ocean Pavilion at COP28 and associated stakeholders to call on world leaders to support and foster efforts to greatly expand and improve ocean observations worldwide to provide a basis for understanding ongoing natural and anthropogenic change and for planning mitigation and adaptation strategies, with a particular emphasis on building capacity in developing nations and on expanding coverage of under-observed regions.

  • Measuring Ocean Carbon:
    Improve global stocktake estimates and measures of progress towards goals laid out in the Paris Agreement by providing better measures of carbon fluxes through the ocean and a more comprehensive view of Earth’s ocean-climate system.
  • Progressing Carbon Removal:
    Implement robust, cooperative monitoring, reporting, and verification of new and emerging ocean-based carbon dioxide removal strategies to ensure measurable progress towards net-negative emissions while also protecting critical ocean ecosystems.
  • Enhancing Ocean Monitoring:
    Expand observing capabilities to measure the widest possible suite of essential climate and biological variables to better understand and address the impacts of climate change on the distribution of ocean life, marine ecosystem health, biomass, and biodiversity.
  • Enabling Climate Resilience:
    Develop capacity among island nations and developing countries and refine methodologies to account for contributions by the ocean’s natural functions and the blue economy to climate stabilization through nationally determined contributions and national adaptation plans.

What is COP28?

  • COP28 is a ‘Conference of the Parties’ (or nations) who are signatories of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is the 28th annual conference taking place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 at Expo City, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The meeting brings together parties to discuss and agree on steps to address climate change. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) and then the Paris Agreement (2016), were agreed through UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties.

  • In addition to the party negotiations which involve government delegations, ‘observer organisations’ including scientific organisations, non-governmental organisations and industry groups engage in the conference to stimulate discussions on issues related to climate change. There is a ‘Blue Zone’ to each COP conference where accredited organisations and consortia hold side events and discussions.

What is the Ocean Pavilion?

  • The Ocean Pavilion will underscore the integral role of our ocean in climate and serve as the central hub for conference delegates to exchange ideas on addressing the climate crisis by leveraging ocean science and solutions.

  • The Ocean Pavilion brings together world leaders in ocean science, engineering, and policy to carry the message that the ocean matters to everyone, everywhere and that science must lead the way in our quest for safe, long-term solutions to climate change.


Ocean Pavilion Key Messages

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  • Earth is an ocean planet, with more than 70% of our globe covered by ocean.
  • The ocean holds 90% of the Earth’s liveable space, and is home to 250,000 known species, and perhaps twice as many unknown ones. (UN, 2017)
  • Nearly one billion people living in low-elevation coastal zones worldwide will be affected by sea level rise. (Reimann, 2023)
  • The blue economy is estimated to provide over 30 million jobs and supply a vital source of protein to three billion people (UNEPFI).
  • The ocean is integral to our climate system and is the largest active carbon reservoir on Earth (The Global Climate Cycle and Climate Change, 2023).
  • The blue economy provides over 30 million jobs and supplies a vital source of protein to three billion people. (UNEPFI)
  • The ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat caused by human activity. (IPCC 6th Assessment)
  • The rate of ocean warming has more than doubled since 1993. (IPCC 6th Assessment)
  • More than 90% of marine life could face extinction by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed. Climate change is impacting the biology of the ocean, affecting the location and abundance of marine lifeAntarctica and Greenland have lost more than 430 billion tons per year since 2006. (Boyce et el, 2022IPCC, A.1.1)
  • Nearly one billion people living in low-elevation coastal zones worldwide will be affected by sea level rise. (Reimann, 2023)
  • Marine heatwaves and general ocean warming are driving weather extremes being felt worldwide. (NASA)
  • Cutting emissions must be at the heart of our response to climate change.
  • We can’t meet the Paris Accords without also pulling carbon from the atmosphere. (IPCC)
  • The ocean already absorbs as much as 30% of carbon dioxide emissions generated by human activity. (NOAA)
  • The deep ocean holds more than 50 times as much carbon as the atmosphere. (Gleoge, 2021)
  • Ocean-based solutions that are ready to implement today could close the emissions gap by as much as 35%. (High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy)
  • Mangrove forests sequester carbon more than 10 times faster than mature terrestrial forests (McLeod, et al., 2011)
  • We have significantly less data from the ocean, than we do from the land and atmosphere.
  • Key ocean-climate variables remain under-observed and the link between climate and biodiversity is not adequately monitored or understood.
  • We need to prioritize implementing ocean observation systems and advancing science so we can comprehend climate impacts, improve resiliency, and understand its role as an absorber of carbon dioxide
  • Improved ocean observations are necessary for a comprehensive understanding of our progress toward the goals in the Paris Accords.
  • We can’t manage what we don’t understand, and we can’t understand what we don’t observe.
  • Developing countries that are building nationally determined contributions and national adaptation plans called for under the Paris Agreement need to be able to account for the ocean’s contributions to climate stabilization efforts.
  • Experiments to test the effectiveness of ocean-based climate solutions must be guided by an ethical framework that protects shared marine resources.
  • All research must be carried out in a transparent and equitable manner that considers the voices of developing countries.
  • All efforts to leverage the ocean to remove carbon from the atmosphere must first be tested for safety and must be monitored and their effectiveness reported, and verified if they are used.
  • Carbon credits linked to specific carbon dioxide strategies should be rooted in the best available information about their effectiveness.

The National Oceanography Centre – who we are and what we are doing

  • The National Oceanography Centre is one of the world’s leading centres of expertise on the ocean’s interaction with climate change.

    Our scientists lead ground-breaking research into climate change, sea level rise, carbon uptake and storage, and monitoring how the ocean is changing. Our engineers are developing innovative ocean sensing technologies, including miniaturised highly accurate micro-sensors and autonomous underwater vehicles, to help us measure and track change in the ocean as part of the Global Ocean Observing System.

  • We operate large research infrastructures including global class research ships. We have been leading a project to scope future net zero oceanographic capabilities.

    Our scientists and technologists gather and manage openly-accessible data used by people the world over, to understand and map the ocean. We model what might happen to the oceans with ongoing climate change, and we play a key role in supporting mitigation of climate change through nature based and engineering solutions.

Take our COP quiz

Brush up on your knowledge of COP while learning some of the most important facts about our ocean

NOC events at COP28

Check out the events we’re leading or participating in below:


View the full Ocean Pavilion Program