U.S. Ocean Innovation Takes Center Stage at COP28: A New Era of Blue Economy

On December 5, 2023, leaders from around the world gathered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for COP28, the 28th Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal of this conference was to accelerate global climate action and address the existential threat of climate change. As President Biden stated, “Climate change is the existential threat to humanity” and demands urgent and collective action.

While each nation faces unique environmental, economic, and societal impacts, one thing is clear: the global ocean is under great threat from climate change. However, the ocean also holds the key to solutions that can help us achieve our climate mitigation and adaptation goals. It not only connects most nations but also supports vital functions and ecosystems, and powers one of the largest sectors of the global economy.

The Blue Economy, which includes maritime shipping, offshore energy, fishing, and recreation, is a $373 billion sector that employs 2.3 million Americans. But in order to truly harness the potential of the ocean, we must also embrace a “New Blue Economy” that prioritizes the collection, analysis, and dissemination of ocean and coastal-derived data and information. This will not only support economic growth but also protect the ocean’s health and address societal challenges while ensuring social equity.

The United States is home to one of the largest Blue Economies in the world, and our innovative products and solutions are in high demand in the international marketplace. The International Trade Administration (ITA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), both part of the Department of Commerce, are committed to coupling environmental sustainability with economic growth and partnering with the U.S. private sector to combat climate change.

While ITA and NOAA have distinct missions, they share a common goal of promoting the Blue Economy and New Blue Economy. These industries, jobs, and economic growth rely on and protect our precious ocean and Great Lakes, rivers, and wetland resources. As we move forward, it is crucial that we continue to support and invest in the blue technology sector, as it holds the key to a sustainable and prosperous future for all.  

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