CEO Corner

Follow our CEO, Manuel Oliva, for insights and inspiration on the direction of conservation science today.

COP 27–Point Blue Again Joins International Climate Gathering

Over 200 countries and thousands of organizations have been convening in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) which serve as the United Nations sponsored negotiations for global climate change action. These negotiations, which continue the important dialogue to craft global climate action, are also occurring under a shadow of broader economic and human rights concerns. Point Blue will again be present at this important global meeting as the global climate community pushes for more ambitious climate change actions. As always, Point Blue supports actions that are rooted in science, and we continue to elevate nature-based solutions that will enable us to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

There are many important topics that are being discussed in Egypt, including how to get back on track to lower global carbon emissions and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, increasing climate finance to help poorer countries adapt to and recover from the damaging effects of climate change, and improving the resiliency of our food systems. Point Blue’s science leadership here in California offers exciting new solutions that can be adapted and applied around the world. For example:

Point Blue Board Member, Geoff Gordon-Creed at COP27 in Egypt.
  • Our soil carbon research, implemented in partnership with farmers and ranchers, demonstrates how healthier soils on agricultural lands not only improve resiliency for food production but also capture carbon emissions from the atmosphere. We are now scaling this research and practices across the country and capturing the interest of global partners.
  • Our work restoring tidal marshes and coastal systems across California to build resiliency to sea level rise while restoring important habitats for birds and other wildlife are now being successfully applied across Latin America through exciting new partnerships from Mexico to Chile.
  • Conducting high quality restorations of degraded natural systems in partnership with school children, including those from historically underserved communities who are the next generation of scientists and leaders, has demonstrated that science in partnership with communities leads to more durable conservation outcomes because the community feels a sense of ownership of these actions and are inspired by what they accomplished.
  • Our research mapping areas off the Pacific Coast of the United States for wind turbines providing clean energy will inform government agencies to ensure that they do not cause harm to marine ecosystems or wildlife. This research demonstrates that our transition to a new clean energy future can also protect natural systems that support the well-being of wildlife and human communities.

These types of nature-based solutions that not only address climate change but also provide other important multiple-benefits are the type of scientific solutions. We also hope that these types of examples that recognize the power of science in partnership with communities will inspire a shift to more inclusive and audacious solutions needed to meet the scale of the problem we face.

This time last year while I was in Glasgow Scotland at COP 26, I spent a great deal of time speaking with some of the leading voices working on climate change issues from across the globe. As we discussed the many complex issues that are part of these negotiations, one topic we would often turn to is the idea of governments, organizations, and individuals seeking to become “carbon neutral” or encouraging a shift to a “net-zero” approach on carbon emissions. In essence balancing their “checkbook” of carbon emissions. This again remains an important topic of discussion at COP 27. Although we do absolutely need an approach that looks to all possible solutions, these types of investments to make up for damage done always struck me as too small in terms of scale. Essentially actions that are transactional in nature, to deposit exactly what was withdrawn. I believe that the work we are doing at Point Blue For example, instead of focusing only on improving soil sequestration actions on a single rangeland, our research to develop a soil carbon map on every rangeland across California, is unlocking the carbon sequestration potential on more than 60 million acres of land. By investing in an approach that combines the research that will offer the new innovative solutions of tomorrow, rebuilds our natural systems that support all life on earth today, and seeks to partner with a greater number of communities to expand the scale of ideas and impact we can shift the trajectory of our future.

Point Blue Board Member Geoff Gordon-Creed with CA State Senator and environmental champion, John Laird.

While in Egypt we will seek to contribute to these important negotiations to fight climate change at a global scale, as well as share with and learn from our colleagues leading these efforts across the world. And armed with even greater knowledge, ideas and energy, we will strive to build upon the tremendous body of work we have accomplished together here in California.