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 with a goal of crafting the Ocean Climate Action Plan or OCAP (final draft available 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. 


MONTEREYCA — July 13, 2020   

Ocean Climate Action Plan offers Cure for Post-Pandemic Economy with Solutions for Climate Emergency

Adds Missing Pieces to House Climate Change Framework

The Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier just issued a unique, comprehensive, Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP)—the Blue New Deal—offering a cure for the battered post-pandemic economy and solutions for the climate emergency. Many of these recommendations appear in the new Democratic climate plan, however, OCAP adds additional and practical solution-oriented proposals that go beyond the current Democratic thinking.  If the recommendations become federal ocean-climate legislation, it will be a first for the nation, as well as for MIIS and Middlebury.  

Elected Leaders Explain

Senator Jeff Merkeley (D OR), Rep. Deb Haaland (D NM) and Rep. Joe Cunningham (D SC) state why a Blue New Deal is important for a vibrant economy and sustainable future. 

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

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.  

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

Follow OCAP on Social Media

#OceanClimateAction #BlueNewDeal, #ClimateCrisis #ClimateReality #VoteOcean

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


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