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Climate Politics

More Governments Are Turning Against the Rush to Mine the Deep Sea

At least 10 countries that are members of an international body regulating ocean mining want to pause the practice because of a lack of scientific data on its environmental impact.

A Greenpeace International activist in April 2021 displays a banner in front of the Maersk Launcher, a ship chartered by DeepGreen, one of the companies spearheading the drive to mine the barely understood deep sea ecosystem.

A Greenpeace International activist in April 2021 displays a banner in front of the Maersk Launcher, a ship chartered by DeepGreen, one of the companies spearheading the drive to mine the barely understood deep sea ecosystem.

Photographer: Marten van Dijl/Greenpeace United Kingdom

As world leaders gather at the United Nations climate summit in Egypt this week, another international meeting is underway in Jamaica to decide the fate of the planet’s oceans.

The UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority is convening in Kingston to fast-track regulations that could allow the mining of fragile and biodiverse deep sea ecosystems for valuable metals as soon as 2024. But as the ISA Council, the organization’s policymaking body, concluded its first week of meetings on Friday, a growing number of countries were calling for a halt to the rush to enact mining regulations by July 2023, a deadline established last year.