Greater Farallones Association at COP26

November 23, 2021

Illuminating the Ocean as a Climate Solution

Earlier this month, Greater Farallones Association staff member Sara Hutto joined other climate experts from around the world to share information, raise awareness, and most importantly, illuminate the ocean as a solution in the global fight against climate change, at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland.

Representing the Association and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Sara spoke about our groundbreaking work quantifying the capacity of Sanctuary ecosystems to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere (termed blue carbon) and help fight climate change, and equipping other marine protected area (MPA) managers with the tools to follow suit. In addition to speaking on blue carbon, Sara served as a moderator for the US Center’s panel session, “Ocean and Climate Ambition: International Partnership on MPAs, Biodiversity and Climate Change.”

Watch the Video

An Exciting New International Partnership
As detailed during the session, the Sanctuary, with support from the Association, is leading the US in a first-of-its-kind International Partnership on MPAs, Biodiversity, and Climate, alongside Chile, Costa Rica, France, and the UK, to study and advance the role of MPAs in protecting ocean biodiversity and tackling climate change. This partnership, born from COP25 (known as “Blue COP” for its focus on ocean climate) in 2019, is a promising example of how nations can come together to confront shared environmental crises through real world, science-based solutions.

The ocean, through marine protected areas, is emerging as a vital solution in the fight against climate change. Not only do MPAs safeguard against loss of biodiversity, healthy marine habitats like seagrass beds, wetlands, and kelp forests, sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere; and natural ocean processes bolstered in protected areas deposit that carbon safely into the deep sea where it stays indefinitely if not disturbed. Learn about our work to study, restore, and conserve the important blue carbon habitats within Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Learn more about blue carbon through the Office of National Marine Sanctuary’s Blue Carbon in Marine Protected Areas interactive storymap, created by Greater Farallones Association staff member and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary affiliate, Sage Tazek.

View the Blue Carbon Storymap


Thank you to Tomberg Family Philanthropies and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary for support of this work.

Photo caption: Ocean and Climate Ambition session presenters at the US Center, COP26, Nov 6: (left to right) NOAA Administrator Dr. Richard Spinrad; Sara Hutto, GFA/GFNMS Climate Program Coordinator, Beth Flavell, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC); JNCC Chair Colin Galbraith; Sarah Harrison, JNCC; Vice Minister of Water and Seas, Costa Rica, Cynthia Barzuna. Not pictured: US Senator Brian Schatz (Hawaii).