OneOcean Response Room Briefing – Edition #16

Date: 19th November 2020

Welcome to the Climate Edition of the OneOcean briefing. Ahead of the UNFCCC Ocean-Climate Dialogues, this briefing analyses the narratives, themes and trends around both the climate and the ocean as topics in English language international media. The briefing considers both topics separately, as well as exploring the intersection between the two.

The full OneOcean Response Room weekly briefing and supporting analysis is available to Flotilla members. If your organisation is interested in receiving this briefing, is not a member and interested in joining, please email

Summary of findings

Data for this briefing was gathered between 2nd-15th November and was collected around ‘ocean’ and ‘climate’ in online English language legacy media. Data collection spanned the US election and results period, so cannot be considered as a standard snapshot of media conversation. There was some indication that Biden’s victory influenced the tone and volume of climate-related coverage, confirming the prominence of the climate in mainstream media and political discourse.
Overall, ocean coverage was low in volume and fragmented in nature, both within the climate landscape and as a topic in its own right. At the climate-ocean intersection, there were scatterings of ocean-related solutions, alongside stories on the impact of extreme weather on humans and of climate breakdown on the ocean itself. The fragmented nature of discourse continues in the ocean-only sphere, punctuated only by the coverage of the UK’s designation of the fully protected MPA in the Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha. The ocean rarely penetrated the climate space.
Climate crisis coverage was high in volume and unified in narrative. It was treated through coverage as a threat relevant to every facet of our lives. Coverage suggested that, as with other core societal pillars such as health and the economy, dealing with climate breakdown requires a collective, multi-sector and cross-cutting approach.
Articles that featured voices from the wider environmental community indicated that there is momentum behind the need to close the gap between climate and biodiversity ahead of the UNFCCC and CBD COPs taking place next year and the role nature-based solutions can play in both processes.
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