Global superstar and UN Environment Programme Ambassador, Ellie Goulding is challenging world leaders and policymakers attending the COP27 summit in Egypt to jump in the Red Sea and see for themselves what’s at stake. Sharm El Sheikh – the venue for COP27 – happens to be on the doorstep of one of the most resilient, and climate-tolerant coral reefs on the planet. The reef, once described by Jacques Cousteau as one of the wonders of the world, remains healthy….for now, but that could change if COP27 fails to keep global temperature rising well below two degrees.
Last month, in preparation for the summit Ellie swam the reef herself, on an expedition with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and The Ocean Agency. Her expedition is captured in a series of films made for COP27 and the upcoming CBD COP15 (Convention on Biological Diversity), that will be played during various events at the summit. “The coral reefs of the Egyptian Red Sea are very special. I want every delegate to understand that the fate of this ecosystem lies in their hands,” Ellie says.
On November 16th, Ellie took to the podium in person at COP27 to deliver a keynote on corals and climate as part of the summit’s designated Biodiversity and Ocean Day. This was the second time she has addressed an international climate summit; the first was at Glasgow at COP26. She pressed leaders to honor commitments to limit global warming to well under two degrees Celsius and to prioritize support for local action to save coral reefs, reminding them of their obligation to fight to stop every part of a degree in temperature rise.
Ellie, who was recently honored by the UN Association as Humanitarian of the Year, including her work in Ukraine – has become world-renowned as a passionate champion and defender of the natural world too. “Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet. They’re an ecosystem that supports hundreds of thousands of species and at least a billion people,” Ellie says, “But urgent action by world leaders and policymakers, can save the reefs on the doorstep of this conference as they are some of the most climate tolerant reefs in the world. But it is only by honoring commitments to reduce emissions and limit global warming to less than two degrees that even this resilient reef will be saved.”
Corals are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to climate change. “Research tells us that as global temperature rises by 1.5 degrees Celsius, we will likely lose between 70 and 90% of our coral reefs. At two degrees, it is projected to be 99%. Every degree and part of a degree is worth fighting for,” says Ellie. She continues, “It’s incredible to think that the survival of the entire ecosystem here could be riding on the outcome of this conference.”
The singer and songwriter who recently announced the launch of her fifth studio album, Higher Than Heaven out February 3, 2023, alongside a new song & video “Let It Die,”is adamant that the coral reef must be preserved. “You forget that coral reefs have been around for half a billion years. The sheer beauty of them took my breath away when I experienced them. Humanity has never been on the verge of losing an entire ecosystem before. But we’ve also never had the opportunity to save one either. So, what are we waiting for?”
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