Razan Al Mubarak: Green Shipping Can Cut Emissions and Boost Developing Nations

In advance of a watershed meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference in London next week, Razan Al Mubarak wrote an op-ed for Context calling on the maritime shipping industry to significantly cut carbon emissions over the next five years while also prioritizing a just transition to green fuels that will benefit developing countries. 

With over 90% of internationally traded goods transported by sea, marine shipping accounts for about 3% of global emissions, comparable to the sixth largest country in the world. Cutting emissions in the shipping industry is critical to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to Ms. Al Mubarak, the sector can transform both its emissions and efficiency by scaling existing initiatives like hydrogen-fueled vessels and emission-free green corridors. She wrote:

“The central role of shipping and its reliance on highly polluting fuel takes a massive planetary toll. As global trade expands, the sector’s emissions are projected to skyrocket by up to 250% by 2050. This cannot be an option. Make no mistake, at the rate that shipping emissions are rising, this is the last opportunity for the IMO to commit to a 1.5C future.” 

Supporting developing nations in the transition to green shipping holds immense potentia, according to Ms. Al Mubarak. Countries like Kenya, Mauritania, and South Africa are exploring renewable energy sources, creating a pathway for green hydrogen production for sustainable shipping. And collaborations between nations and companies, such as Belgium-based CMB partnering with Namibia's O&L Group, provide a model for an inclusive and equitable transition. She added:

“A just and inclusive shipping transition would unlock myriad benefits for coastal communities across the globe. According to the Maritime Just Transition Task Force, 800,000 seafarers could require training by the mid-2030s to handle the green fuels needed to decarbonise shipping by 2050. By powering clean growth, developing regions can escape cycles of underdevelopment and debt while creating economic benefits and stability for all.”

Launched by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2022, Context is a news and analysis platform focusing on three of the most critical issues facing humanity: climate change, the impact of technology on society, and the need for more inclusive economies.

Read the full op-ed  by Razan Al Mubarak in Context.

Razan Al Mubarak Advocates for Nature-Positive Economy

Razan Al Mubarak talks about Nature-Positive Economy with Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Melanie Jamieson and Jennifer Tauli Corpuz at London Climate Action Week.

During London Climate Action Week, Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, advocated for a nature-positive economy and called on businesses to step up climate mitigation and adaptation efforts and to include nature-based solutions in their climate transition plans. At the flagship event “The Race is On: Net Zero & Nature Positive for Climate Action” opening the London Climate Action Week 2023, Ms. Al Mubarak stated:

“A nature-positive economy is a no-brainer for biodiversity, the climate, public health, food security, and for the long-term goals and interests of businesses.”

While most of the world’s governments have committed to legally-binding actions on climate under the UNFCCC, steps taken by private companies, regional governments and municipalities are largely voluntary. As a High-Level Champion, Ms. Al Mubarak has been tasked with increasing these kinds of voluntary contributions, especially as it becomes apparent that government actions alone will not be sufficient to avert dangerous changes to the climate.

Later this year, the Global Stocktake – an official assessment of how the world is implementing the Paris Agreement – is expected to show that countries are not doing enough to achieve the agreed limit of human-induced warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. Humans are destroying nature at an unprecedented rate, with biodiversity loss already costing the global economy 10% of its annual output.

As President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Ms. Al Mubarak added:

“We know that there is no Paris Agreement without nature. Nature enhances resilience. It also provides at least a third of the mitigation opportunity required to achieve 1.5°C.”

Ms. Al Mubarak outlined several steps that companies and financial institutions can take towards a nature-positive economy: joining the Race to Zero campaign, which requires participants to pledge to reach net zero by 2050; financing nature-based solutions; disclosing climate and nature-related risks and opportunities and integrating them into decision-making; and setting science-based targets for climate and nature-positive actions and reporting progress regularly.

Urging immediate action, Ms. Al Mubarak said:

“This is a deciding moment in history. The challenge is critical and we are running out of time. Nevertheless, businesses and investors have more tools than ever to help accelerate emission reductions, enhance adaptation and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.”

Nature can protect us if we protect it: Razan Al Mubarak for Economist Impact

Ahead of London Climate Action Week, Razan Al Mubarak penned an op-ed for Economist Impact on the need to put nature-positive solutions higher on the global agenda. As UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, Ms. Al Mubarak said:

“In the race to tackle climate change and adapt and build resilience to its impacts, there is one valuable asset we are failing to seize on: nature. A nature-positive economy is a no-brainer for biodiversity, the climate, public health, food security and the economy. By protecting the forests, mangroves, soil and biodiversity around us, we will buffer communities from further-intensifying weather extremes and land degradation and we will absorb more carbon, bolster food and water supplies, create jobs and protect livelihoods.”

In the op-ed, Ms. Al Mubarak highlights five significant developments in the past year that enable the private sector to invest in nature:

  1. Resources to help businesses and investors set science-based targets for nature
  2. An initiative of investors encouraging companies to help tackle nature loss
  3. A forthcoming financial disclosure framework for nature-related risks
  4. The goals set in the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework
  5. The UN's Global Stocktake of Paris Agreement progress

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), noted the importance of the global goals for nature in the Kunming-Montreal framework. It includes targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, make Indigenous-led conservation models the standard by 2030, respect and protect Indigenous land rights, and reform harmful subsidies. It also requires large companies and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, impacts and dependencies on nature. Calling to action, Ms. Al Mubarak said:

“Like the Paris Agreement did for climate change in 2015, the Kunming-Montreal framework provides a long-term destination for the global economy. It means we know where we need to go. Now we must plot the route and start moving.”

Read the full op-ed by Razan Al Mubarak on Economist Impact.

Razan Al Mubarak Urges Decisive Climate Action at Bonn Climate Change Conference

Razan Al Mubarak speaking at the Bonn Climate Change Conference

Razan Al Mubarak urged decisive climate action by the private sector, local governments and civil society at the Bonn Climate Change Conference this week. Held from 5-15 June, the event is part of the formal United Nations negotiations on climate and marks an important stop on the road to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) which will take place in the UAE this December. 

As the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, Ms. Al Mubarak is working to inspire and unite non-state actors to do their part. Ms. Al Mubarak said:

“This is a decisive decade for tackling climate change. It is about asking ourselves how much we are prepared to do now to secure a safe, healthy, prosperous future for ourselves and our children. To avoid the most painful and costly climate change impacts, we must halve global emissions by 2030. We are far off track but it is still not too late to act in a meaningful way.”

Coming out ahead of COP28, the Global Stocktake report is expected to show that the world is lagging in implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving its goal to limit human-induced warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels.

As President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Ms. Al Mubarak highlighted the importance of nature-based solutions, saying that “there will be no resilient, net-zero future without halting and restoring nature loss.” She also mentioned that all efforts to protect nature and biodiversity and boost climate resilience need to be inclusive, saying:

“An emergency of this kind requires a solution that embraces and uses talent from the whole of society. Alongside government action, we need a groundswell of action by businesses, cities, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples, youth and women.”

Read more about the work of the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions at the Bonn Climate Change Conference.