Skip to content


What happened with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the ocean and the cryosphere at COP27?

30 November 2022

Image compilation of PML experts at COP27

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) applauds the stronger ocean and cryosphere commitments as reflected in the recent UN Climate Change meeting UNFCCC COP27 outcome document, the “Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan”, as well as the further announcements and declarations made throughout the COP27. The urgency for change as communicated by various scientific reports over the years, including the IPCC 6th Assessment Report, which had PML lead authors and was “welcomed” within the Implementation Plan considered strong wording showing recognition of the science and urgency needed. Despite this and disappointingly, the final COP27 outcome text used the wording ‘phasing down’ fossil fuels, rather than the more ambitious ‘phasing out’ of fossil fuels. On a more positive note, there was a last-minute breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters, which had been a sticking point for decades although it’s implementation will need future negotiations and planning. 

PML ocean and climate experts have been taking part in each of the UN Climate Change meetings, COPs, since 2009 to bring evidence of the latest ocean climate science to key stakeholders. Over the years the presence of the ocean and related community has grown significantly, with this year the realisation of the first Ocean Pavilion in the Blue Zone at COP hosting over 60 events with PML a partner in this initiative together with around 19 other scientific institutions.  

The PML delegation included senior delegates as well as an Early Career Researcher with roles in more than 25 events covering a range of issues from the threats the ocean is facing, the challenges for the cryosphere, to the impacts on society and effective adaptation and mitigation, including discussions on Blue Carbon and Nature-Based Solutions. Events included an official COP side event as well as numerous events in pavilions at the COP such as those of the IPCC/WMO/Meri Foundation, UN DESA Sustainable Development Goals, IAEA, Cryosphere, Pacific (Moana), UK, Canada, Israel, Mediterranean and of course the Ocean. 

Our experts were authors in science-policy papers launched at COP27, including on the urgency of climate mitigation, human health & climate change and the state of the Cryosphere. Further activities included presenting posters as part of the Earth Information Day at COP and hosting an exhibition stand together with the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean and the Global Ocean Forum.   

PML was also a founding partner in the COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion, launched for COP26 in 2021 and aimed at democratising access to the COP for those not able to join in person. This pavilion had over 2,000 registrations from 115 countries who could access a COP27 Ocean Events overview with livestream links directly into COP27 where available, join live events within the virtual pavilion, visit exhibits, meet with experts, view videos and access further information as well as much more!  

Our ocean experts enjoyed collaborating with many international partners during the UNFCCC COPs and are looking forward to continuing to do so to bring even greater ocean and climate understanding and recognition in the UNFCCC process.