On September 30, Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (and President of the Ocean Policy Research Institute), chaired the concurrent session titled "Blue Recovery - Beyond Zero from the Ocean" at the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) 7th Annual Meeting. ICEF is an international conference initiated by the Japanese government on energy and environmental innovation to address climate change (the plenary session of the 2020 Annual Conference was held on October 7-8, 2020). The theme for this year was Action toward a “Beyond Zero” emission society in light of COVID-19, with a focus on gender equality. Global leaders from business, academia and government from around the world got together and discussed these themes.
This was the first session in the ICEF's history with a special focus on the ocean and marine issues. The panel included experts from international organizations and the private sector, who shared their approaches and insights on innovations from the ocean to Beyond Zero. The discussion focused on the potential of offshore wind power in Japan and the rest of the world, highlighting the importance of technological innovation and funding. Although the impact of COVID-19 on offshore wind power industry and other ocean sectors has been significant, the panel expressed high expectations for ocean-based solutions. There were hopes expressed that the utilization of ocean resources will greatly contribute to the decarbonisation of society and even to the development of a "Beyond Zero" emission society. The great potential of Japan and Asia as a whole was also mentioned. Hopefully the discussions at this session will stimulate further innovation and accelerate the process of achieving Net Zero by 2050 from the ocean sector.