2023 in Review: A Year of Progress for Oceans, the Environment, and Science

2023 was a year of progress for oceans, the environment, and science. [State Department image] 2023 was a year of real progress in protecting the ocean and environment and advocating for space and science cooperation. In numerous multilateral fora and with partners in the United States and around the world, the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs helped lead the charge for a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow. Let me share with you some of the ways we moved from ambition to action in 2023. Acting Assistant Secretary Littlejohn leads a panel at COP28. [State Department photo] Supporting Meaningful Progress at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) COP28 in Dubai was considered by many to be the most important climate conference since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The U.S. delegation played a central negotiating role and joined consensus on historic outcomes, including a call for all Parties to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems to achieve net-zero by 2050. The conference also agreed to create a fund to assist vulnerable developing countries to respond to loss and damage due to climate change. Additionally, the Parties’ decision on the first “global stocktake” under the Paris Agreement sets forth ambitious global goals for this decade, including tripling renewable energy capacity, doubling the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements, halting and reversing deforestation by 2030, and substantially reducing emissions of methane and other non-CO2 gases. Protecting the High Seas After two decades of discussions and negotiations, the United Nations adopted a new treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of high seas biodiversity in June. The United States played a leading role in the negotiations and signed the High Seas Treaty (also known as the BBNJ Agreement) in September. The high seas account […]

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