Cartoon picture of wave crashing over the capitol building in DC
(Credit: Jim Toomey (Sherman's Lagoon) )

The Center for the Blue Economy has partnered with Blue Frontier to bring together thought leaders from across industry, government, academia, and the conservation community to craft the Ocean Climate Action Plan or OCAP (final draft linked here).  The plan, with its growing support, will provide the template for some of the first ocean climate legislation and policy actions in U.S. history, beginning in 2021. 

Three Logos from Blue Frontier, Center for the Blue Economy, and Heirs to Our Oceans

Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act (H.R. 8632) Debated Live

On Tuesday, 11/17/2020, the U.S. House of Representatives had a hearing on Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act (H.R. 8632).  The Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier, in collaboration with hundreds of innovative leaders in business, academia, research, Indigenous communities, NGOs, and environmental justice groups gave input to the bill, though our Ocean Climate Action Plan policy paper (about 50% of which was adopted into the final language).  As far as we know, this is a first for MIIS and for Middlebury.   The hearing was live-streamed and can be accessed via the post below.

If the public would like to urge congress to support the bill, please sign on to our letter of support:    

Ocean Climate Action House Bill: A Major Advance for Climate Policy

MONTEREYCA — October 20, 2020  

Today, the House Natural Resources Committee introduced the “Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act,” the first bill aimed at using ocean and coastal resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help coastal communities equitably adapt to climate change impacts.  

“We see this bill as the beginning of a tidal change in U.S. ocean and climate policy,” says David Helvarg, Executive Director of Blue Frontier.  “We were particularly pleased to see that many of our specific recommendations have been incorporated into the current version of the House bill,” says Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy.  


Sign the Petition and Join the Wave of Support

Over 100 influential people, organizations, and policy makers support the Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP).   You can see their names here:  Ocean Climate Action Plan Primary Signatories.

Take action and add your name to the petition to pledge your support!

OCAP has two main objectives:

  1. To use ocean and coastal resources to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and
  2. To help coastal communities to equitably adapt to climate change impacts

The policy recommendations developed can also be used as a template for state legislation in large coastal states, such as California, Florida, Alaska, and Louisiana. The Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier have acted as convenors for a diversity of stakeholders in this collaborative, nonpartisan effort. Time is running out to mitigate the worst aspects of climate change.  There is an urgent need to put in place sensible policies to ensure continued prosperity in the coastal regions, which are ground zero for climate impacts.

There are four parts of the plan:

  • Financing & Coastal Adaptation  (Financing mechanisms for coastal adaptation, in the context of social justice)
  • Offshore Renewable Energy  (The challenges facing offshore clean energy and onshore links, including ocean zoning)
  • Ports & the Maritime Sector (Greening ports and shipping and decarbonizing other maritime industries.)
  • Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Marine Biodiversity Conservation (Climate adaptation solutions in fisheries and aquaculture, including adaptive MPAs)


How Adaptation Gets Done--The Miami Beach Story

Ms. Elizabeth Wheaton, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Department for the City of Miami Beach describes her city’s innovative adaptation actions. She spoke as part of the Ocean Climate Action Webinar, held April 29, 2020, hosted by the Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier.

How to Fix the Broken Flood Insurance Program

Mr. Frank Nutter, President of the Reinsurrance Association of America presents ideas that can save the National Flood Insurance Program from insolvency, and make it truly responsive to community need. He spoke as part of the Ocean Climate Action Webinar, held April 29, 2020, hosted by the Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier.

California State Controller Betty Yee Tells It Like It Is

Betty Yee speaks frankly about the ocean and the economy at the October 2019 meeting of the Ocean Climate Action Plan Summit, hosted by the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute and Blue Frontier.     

Three Minutes of Inspiration

Watch highlights from a few of our keynote speakers who helped to open the Ocean Climate Action Webinar.   Three minutes of inspiration to spark a movement.

Full Video from the Ocean Climate Action Webinar, April 29, 2020

Want to see a certain section or speaker?  Click this OCAP webinar navigation document for start & end times of each section, and click on the names in the document for bio links of speakers.  


Dani Washington and David Helvarg--two ocean activists

Rising Tide Podcasts from Blue Frontier

Podcasts, blogs, news articles and books from the Blue Frontier, click here:  Rising Tide Podcasts & Blue News


Twitter and Facebook Icons stacked--Center for the Blue Economy Social Media

Follow OCAP on Social Media

#OceanClimateAction #ClimateCrisis #ClimateReality #OceanBasedSolutions


Learn more about the  Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP).  The OCAP Press Kit includes a final draft of the plan with specific talking points and policy recommendations, videos from key supporters, OCAP-related articles, logos, photos, social media links, and media contacts.  

Ocean Climate Action Plan Background & Next Steps:

On March 13th, 2019, David Helvarg of the Blue Frontier and Jason Scorse of the Center for the Blue Economy wrote “Putting the Blue in the Green New Deal,” an opinion piece in the scientific magazine Mongabay.   The two ocean-focused non-profit organizations realized that they were uniquely positioned to act as conveners who could bring together thought leaders to refine and expand the initial ideas into the Ocean Climate Action Plan.   A meeting of California leaders was convened on October 18th—more about that meeting can be found here:  The Ocean Climate Action Summit—California Meeting.   

On January 13th, 2020, the first consensus draft of the Ocean Climate Action Plan was released (based on comments from our Oct.18 meeting in California). After a comment period, the second draft was released on March 12th, 2020.

On Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, the two organizations hosted a webinar that looked in depth at the issues addressed by the Ocean Climate Action Plan.  After introductory remarks by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Congressman Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, and Ms. Franceska De Oro, youth activist from Guam, we spent one hour on each of the four parts of the plan. (Full webinar video and guide to sections and speakers above).  The final plan took into consideration the 100 questions asked during the webinar, and we encouraged the public to give further feedback on Draft #2 of the Ocean Climate Action Plan.  

The final draft of the Ocean Climate Action Plan was published on July 13th, 2020.  Now begins the process of translating the final recommendations into legislative and policy language at the state and federal levels. We plan to hold smaller sessions with key experts and stakeholders across the issue areas in crafting this language. We will also continue to build the broad coalition and constituency needed to support ocean climate bills in the U.S. Congress. This will include a media campaign, opinion pieces, and your support spreading the message from sea to shining sea.

Our goal is strong local and federal ocean-climate policy signed into law as soon as possible. The climate emergency is an ocean emergency.  There is no time to waste.

Elizabeth Warren’s Blue New Deal

Many people have inquired whether the Center for the Blue Economy or Blue Frontier had any hand in Warrens’ Blue New Deal proposal, given how closely it resembles the Ocean Climate Action Plan framework. The answer is no. No one in the Warren camp consulted with our organizations. We are of course pleased that the Senator and former Presidential candidate have taken on this issue, raising its profile. But this work goes beyond any single politician or party. The OCAP process is a bottom-up nonpartisan coalition-building effort that will take many months (and likely years) to achieve its goals.  Public support is crucial to build and sustain this effort.  If you have any questions or comments please contact

The Ocean Climate Action Plan Team

The development of the Ocean Climate Action plan was a collaboration between the Center for the Blue Economy, Blue Frontier, with considerable input from the Youth Advisory Council organized by Heirs to Our Oceans.  The three organizations acted as conveners bringing together more than 800 people to give input into the final recommendations.  Read more about OCAP team by clicking the links below.

Blue Frontier Logo--a black/white hand upright in the "power" fist, holding green seaweed--with subheader "seaweed rebel"

Blue Frontier: A national leader in providing resources and opportunities to bring citizens who care about the health of our coasts and ocean into the decision making process.

Heirs to Our Oceans Logo--a circular logo with a whale/pearl in the center

Heirs to Our Oceans:  “We are the next generation taking the the ocean, water and climate crises we are inheriting into our own hands.”  

Center for the Blue Economy logo--a shield with the world, a book, and a  historic building on the campus of the Middlebury Inst of Intl. Studies in Monterey

Center for the Blue Economy:  Our mission at the Center for the Blue Economy is to promote a sustainable, resilient ocean and coastal economy (the “Blue Economy”) through leadership in research, analysis, and education. 

Four main members of the Ocean Climate Action Plan team, David Helvarg, Rachel Christopherson, Jason Scorse, and Natasha Benjamin
Meet the four founding members of the Ocean Climate Action Plan team (from left to right):  David Helvarg (Director, Blue Frontier), Rachel Christopherson (Program Manager, Center for the Blue Economy), Jason Scorse (Director, Center for the Blue Economy), and Natasha Benjamin (Associate Director, Blue Frontier).

To learn more about the Blue Frontier team, click here:  Blue Frontier Staff Bios

To learn more about the Center for the Blue Economy team, click here:  Center for the Blue Economy Staff Bios


For questions and suggestions, please contact the Ocean Climate Action Plan (Blue New Deal) co-organizers:

Jason Scorse
Director of the Center for the Blue Economy

David Helvarg
Author and Executive Director of Blue Frontier

Rachel Christopherson
Program Manager, Center for the Blue Economy