Bolstered by $397M research program, Dalhousie continues push for international ocean observation at COP28

- November 29, 2023

(Shuxuan Cao photo/Pexels)

A delegation from Dalhousie University will participate in the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12, 2023.  

Led by Dr. Alice Aiken, vice-president research and innovation, and Dr. Anya Waite, chief executive officer and scientific director of the Dalhousie-led Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), the delegation will elevate the role of the ocean in the fight against climate change. 

“COP28 is an opportunity to showcase Dalhousie’s substantial expertise in ocean-climate research, and to highlight Canada’s recent investment in the groundbreaking $397-million Transforming Climate Action (TCA) research program,” says Dr. Aiken. “By convening international leaders to discuss the critical need to coordinate and invest in more global ocean observation, our delegation will help to accelerate efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”  

Dalhousie delegates are available for interviews (see below for contact details).

Transforming Climate Action research program

Led by Dalhousie, administered by OFI and in collaboration with Université du Québec à Rimouski, Laval University, and Memorial University. TCA is the most intensive investigation ever undertaken into the ocean’s role in climate change. 

While at COP, the delegation will highlight the core principles integral to the TCA program, including the diverse partners and disciplines involved, Dalhousie’s commitment to meaningful Indigenous engagement and the consideration and promotion of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility across all facets of the program. 

“We are launching TCA on a global stage so that we can help connect world leaders in science, innovation, and policy with Canada,” says Dr. Waite. “By strengthening existing relationships and building new international partnerships, we will maximize the impact of this research and its benefits to Canada and the world.”  

Canada’s investment in TCA underscores the importance and urgency of this research, while also providing OFI with a foundation to advocate for the expansion and improvement of ocean observations worldwide to: 

Proposed North Atlantic Carbon Observatory

The ocean controls our climate. It has absorbed more than 90 per cent of the excess heat and almost 30 per cent of the excess carbon dioxide caused by human activity.  

There is, however, an urgent need for more ocean carbon data so that scientists can better understand this process and how it is changing because of global warming. These changes could lead to devastating consequences, including extreme weather events, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, coral reef mortality, and an increase in low-oxygen zones. 
“OFI is proposing the North Atlantic Carbon Observatory (NACO) as an ideal starting point to advance ocean and carbon observations to inform climate policies and enable responsible climate solutions at scale,” says Dr. Waite. “The natural carbon flux in the North Atlantic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and it is a critical component of the ocean’s carbon absorbing function.”

Establishing a robust ocean carbon observing system to address information gaps requires swift international coordination and investment.  

“Our participation at COP will bring together leaders in Canada and around the world to discuss how we can align ocean-climate research, and governance in the North Atlantic Ocean,” says Dr. Aiken.  

This will include discussions on how NACO would connect and enhance existing ocean observation and modelling capabilities to give decision-makers the critical information needed to inform climate strategies, policies, and actions. 

Seeking action

To expand commitments and funding for ocean observation, the delegation will participate in numerous side events and meetings at COP28, including panel discussions that OFI will host at the Canadian Pavilion and Ocean Pavilion. The events will be held in partnership with public and private sector partners, including the Government of Canada, IBM, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

Updates will be shared during the conference through OFI’s Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook

The need for inclusivity and equity  

Commitment to inclusivity and equity is at the core of OFI and Dal and is crucial to our efforts to lead ocean research efforts globally.

Steps are being taken to ensure the safety of the delegation, especially those from the LGBTQAI2S+ community, in collaboration with the Canadian government.

"Recognizing, addressing, and taking accountability for the obstacles and barriers faced by equity-seeking groups in the research community is at the heart of OFI and Dalhousie's mandate,” says Dr. Waite.

List of hosted and participating events

For full details, visit our COP28 webpage.

If reading on a mobile device, please reorient your screen to be horizontal to view the information below.



Date/Time (GST)



Participant(s) from Dalhousie/OFI

North Atlantic Carbon Observatory – A needed starting point for climate strategies and climate mitigation solutions 

A panel discussion focused on how the North Atlantic Carbon Observatory would connect and enhance ocean observation and modelling efforts to allow for more measurements of the ocean’s ability to absorb and store carbon, creating stakeholder-relevant information. 

1 December 

17:00 – 18:00 

Ocean Pavilion 

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel; Ocean Frontier Institute  

Dr. Anya Waite (panelist) 

Promoting entrepreneurship, innovation & investment for a sustainable blue economy 

The Ocean Innovators Platform is an event dedicated to innovative technologies and inventive solutions aimed at conserving the world’s ocean, seas, and marine resources. The purpose of this event is to highlight the essential role of entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment to develop a sustainable blue economy. 

2 December 

17:00 – 18:00  

Jameel Arts Centre 

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation 

Eric Siegel (participant) 

Earth Information Day – Plenary Session  

Earth Information Day will provide a dialogue for exchanging information on the state of the global climate system and developments in systematic observation. As part of the event, a panel discussion will focus on marine observations, including data gaps and how they can be filled. 

3 December 

10:00 – 13:00 

Plenary 2 

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 

Dr. Anya Waite (panelist)  

Future of deep ocean observation to service climate forecasts and solutions 

This panel discussion will focus on surface and deep ocean carbon observation and the opportunity to improve climate forecasts, enrich climate policy, and enable climate solutions (such as mCDR).  

6 December 

15:30 – 16:30 

Ocean Pavilion  

Ocean Frontier Institute 

Dr. Anya Waite (panelist) 

North Atlantic Carbon Observatory Workshop 

OFI, in partnership with IBM, is organizing a strategy session focused on global governance and blended finance approach for development of the North Atlantic Carbon Observatory.  

7 December 

10:00 – 17:00 

Off-site from COP28 (by invitation only) 

Ocean Frontier Institute; IBM 

Dr. Anya Waite, Eric Siegel, and Akash Rastogi (facilitators) 

Effective and Actionable Governance Frameworks for Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal  

This discussion will focus on how we can put marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) governance principles into action. 

9 December 

11:00 – 12:00 

Main Theatre, Climate & the Living Ocean 

Running Tide 

Dr. Anya Waite (panelist)  

Blue Technology and the Role of the Ocean on the Path to Net Zero 

This panel event will focus on the role of the sustainable ocean economy and blue technologies as an enabler in meeting the world’s emissions reduction targets. 


9 December 

11:00 – 12:00 

Clean Resource Innovation Network Pavilion  

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster  

Eric Siegel (panelist)  

Transforming Ocean-Climate Action 

This panel discussion will gather Canadian and international leaders to discuss the alignment of ocean-climate activities and governance in the North Atlantic Ocean. 

9 December 

17:00 – 18:00  

Canada Pavilion  

Ocean Frontier Institute 

Dr. Alice Aiken (moderator), Dr. Anya Waite (panelist) 

Global ocean observations for equitable knowledge-based decision-making 

Risks raised by climate-forced changes to the ocean elevate the need for timely solutions. The technological revolution offers a growing list of tools, but purposeful observation, collaboration, capacity building and stakeholder engagement are necessary to address challenges effectively and equitably. 

10 December 

17:00 – 18:00 

Clean Resource Innovation Network Pavilion  

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 

Eric Siegel (panelist) 


Media/event inquiries

For any media or event inquiries, please reach out to: 

Greg Hanna
Manager, Communications and Public Relations
Ocean Frontier Institute


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