Ocean Climate Action 2023
THANK YOU SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES for passing the biggest funding package for clean energy and climate solutions in US History!
On August 7, 2022, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act using the budget reconciliation process to pass $369 billion in energy security and climate change programs over the next ten years. On August 12, 2022, the House of Representatives followed suit. While not perfect, the bill is the best hope we have to address climate change now. Please take a moment to THANK your legislators for supporting the bill! We have secured a major step in securing a livable future, healthy ocean, and long-term sustainability and prosperity. There is much yet to do, but for now we CELEBRATE AND THANK THE OCEAN CLIMATE ACTION COALITION! THIS IS YOUR WIN!
We thank all the climate activists, policy makers, scientists and advocates who have drawn attention to the connection between the climate, fossil fuels, and human and ocean health. We would like to THANK ALL OCEAN CLIMATE ACTION citizens and signatories—we have a small but significant part in winning this victory.
In 2019, the Center for the Blue Economy partnered with Blue Frontier to bring together leaders from across industry, government, academia, and the conservation community to craft the Ocean Climate Action Plan or OCAP. Key elements of the plan were passed as part of the infrastructure bill (a down payment on clean ports and clean energy) and now key elements have passed as part of the biggest climate funding bill in US history: $369 billion (over 10 years) are included in the Inflation Reduction Act framework.
Ocean-based climate solutions are key to solving the climate crisis, and there is no time to waste. Ocean health is key to climate health. We are so happy to see forward motion on a path to a liveable future for the planet, and all species that call it home.
Want to learn more about the historic Inflation Reduction Act? We have some resources to recommend:
- the Ocean Defense Initiative looks at the pros and cons in their “Toolkit: Ocean and Coastal Provisions in the Senate Inflation Reduction Act” and after the House passed the bill, they created “Toolkit: Inflation Reduction Act Passes House.”
- “The New Climate Bill’s Ripple Effect on Oceans,” by Jason Scorse and David Helvarg
- Reflections on the historic Inflation Reduction Act, 14-minute interview with Jason Scorse & Middlebury host Andrew Cassel
- Deep dive into the bill’s provisions with Volts host David Roberts and guests Jesse Jenkins, Princeton professor and energy modeler, and Leah Stokes, professor of political science at UC Santa Barbara
In addition to Congressional action, the Biden-Harris Executive Branch is also taking Ocean Climate Action!
The White House Announces "America's First-Ever Ocean Climate Action Plan"
June 8, 2022, World Ocean Day
“The Biden-Harris Administration will develop and implement a first-ever, whole-of-government Ocean Climate Action Plan. The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality, Co-Chairs of the Ocean Policy Committee, announced that the Committee will work in coordination with the White House Climate Policy Office to develop a whole-of-government Ocean Climate Action Plan that will guide significant ocean-based climate mitigation and adaptation actions, including green shipping, ocean-based renewable energy, blue carbon, and other ocean-related solutions. The Committee will also develop a National Sustainable Ocean Plan that will help guide sustainable economic development of U.S. ocean and coastal waters.”
We celebrate this announcement and all climate related forward motion that the Biden-Harris Administration is advancing! Is it coincidence that they have titled it the Ocean Climate Action Plan? We think not!
Read full press release from the White House, June 8th, 2022
What are ocean-based solutions to the climate crisis?
The oceans, the Great Lakes, our nations rivers and estuaries buffer the effects of climate change by sequestering carbon, protecting from storm surge, stabilizing weather patterns, and fostering biodiversity. Climate change and ocean health are often thought about as separate silos, when the two are interconnected. Climate change is warming the oceans and changing their chemistry. Without ocean health, the entire planetary water cycle and oxygen cycle are in danger. The oceans sequester huge amounts of carbon dioxide helping to cool the planet, but that may not continue with “business as usual.” Climate change affects even those far from any coastline. We must solve the ocean climate challenge together, and we have a short window of time to take action.
Ocean-based climate solutions refer to investments and innovations in:
- Clean Ocean Energy: It’s time for federal investment into research and development of wind, wave and tidal energy. We must address the rising temperatures on the planet affecting the oceans and all life on earth and move towards sustainable energy. The Ocean Climate Action Coalition supports (and we believe influenced) the Biden executive action to allow 30GW of offshore wind leasing by 2030.
- Job-Producing Shoreline Restoration to Promote Climate Resilience: Storm intensity is increasing, and sea levels are rising, making storm surges and flooding more intense. The Ocean Climate Action Coalition supports calls for federal funding through NOAA to create jobs building living shorelines and natural barriers for our coasts, ports, and along inland rivers and the Great Lakes (the Civilian Conservation Corps). Nature-based solutions will save lives, save taxpayer money, and create wildlife habitat. It’s time to move post-disaster funding into pre-disaster planning.
- Green Ports and Shipping: It’s time to rapidly accelerate the decarbonization of U.S. ports and the shipping industry, and in doing so, dramatically improve air and water quality in adjacent communities. The Ocean Climate Action Coalition supports calls for federal funding through EPA to modernize and green our ports.
- 30x30: It’s time to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas covering at least 30% of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone waters to provide public benefit and increase climate resilience. Marine protected areas have a proven track record of helping the nations fisheries and marine biodiversity to recover and flourish.
- Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture: It’s time to catalyze rapid growth and innovation in a climate resilient and sustainable seafood industry, which includes aquaculture, mariculture, and plant and cell-based seafood alternatives.
Read the 30-page Ocean Climate Action Plan for more ocean-climate solutions. Our colleagues at the Ocean Defense Initiative have also recently put out a white paper called the Blueprint for Ocean Climate Action, and we fully support and applaud this set of recommendations!
Our Voices are Being Heard
Many Biden-Harris Administration policies already mirror the Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP) goals. Here is a brief timeline to call to mind how inspiring and effective this movement has been, building on 50+ years of climate science and 20+ years of climate advocacy:
- March 2019—“Putting the Blue in the Green New Deal,” outlines the initial 8-point plan.
- October 2019--A meeting of California leaders was convened to refine and expand the initial ideas (60 participants)
- January 2020—the first consensus draft of the Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP) was released and national comment sought (200 collaborators)
- April 2020—an international webinar was held to further vet the ideas in the Ocean Climate Action Plan, and take public comment (800 participants)
- July 2020—the final draft of the Ocean Climate Action Plan was released (with input from 1000+ people)
- November 2020—OCAP goals & language adapted for HR 8632 The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020
- March 2021—In his first week in office, President Biden expands federal leasing to 30GW of offshore wind power by 2030—a specific Ocean Climate Action Plan recommendation.
- April 2021—Ocean Climate Action (Virtual) Lobby Day. : the Ocean Climate Action Coalition held meetings with 107 Members of the House of Representatives and 33 Senators (1000+ people mobilized)
- April 2021—The Biden-Harris Administration commits to promoting living shorelines and decarbonizing the maritime sector, key OCAP goals as part of the US Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- November 2021—Key elements of the OCAP plan were passed as part of HR 3684 the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (a down payment on clean ports and clean energy)
- December 2021—the Biden-Harris Administration announces an executive order to preserve 30% of US federal waters as Marine Protected Areas by 2030, another key OCAP goal.
- June 2022--“America’s First-Ever Ocean Climate Action Plan,” was announced by the White House on June 8, 2022 (World Ocean Day)
- June 2022—The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis holds a hearing entitled, “Turning the Tide for Ocean Climate Action: Unleashing the Climate Benefits of Our Blue Planet,” on June 9, 2022.
- June 2022-- The Biden-Harris Administration announced funding opportunities from NOAA’s $2.96 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. This means nearly $3 billion for NOAA to take action over 5 years in the areas of habitat restoration, coastal resilience, and weather forecasting infrastructure.
- AUGUST 2022-PASSAGE OF THE BIGGEST FUNDING FOR CLIMATE SOLUTIONS IN US HISTORY-The Inflation Reduction Act
Looking back, it is remarkable how a small group of people grew into a national movement that is fulfilling it’s intended purpose: 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.
“It’s time for boldness because there is so much to do!” - President Joseph R. Biden.
Follow us on Social Media
TWITTER @CBE_MIIS or @Blue_Frontier and FACEBOOK @CenterForTheBlueEconomy or @BlueFront.org and INSTAGRAM @OceanClimateAction
About the Ocean Climate Action Coalition
“The ocean is one of the most powerful tools we have to help head off the worst consequences of global climate change,” says Ocean Climate Action Plan signatory Mike Conathan in a recent Hill Article.
The non-partisan Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP) was developed in collaboration with hundreds of organizations and individuals, including a Youth Advisory Council, beginning in 2019 with Blue Frontier and the Center for the Blue Economy acting as convenors. OCAP, published in July of 2020, includes the best ideas from industry leaders, marine conservationists, academics, frontline communities, youth activists, and policymakers. It is a template for strong federal legislation, and indeed, many components of our work have influenced on many Congressional and executive actions and initiatives. After coalition building around the ideas in the Ocean Climate Action Plan, our next step was direct action—hosting meetings with top officials, and hosting the Ocean Climate Action (Virtual) Capitol Hill Lobby Day. On April 13th, 2021, a small, core group of the Ocean Climate Action Coalition met with 11 key federal agencies including: EPA Office of Environmental Justice, Dept. of Energy, NOAA, FEMA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Transportation, Marine Mammal Commission, EPA Office of Water, Department of Commerce, White House Council on Environmental Quality/Office of Science & Technology Policy, and the U.S. Coast Guard. On April 14th, 1000+ members of the public were mobilized and held meetings with 107 Members of the House of Representatives and their staff, and 33 Senators and staff. The broad coalition (many of whom had never lobbied their elected representatives before) sent a clear message to our national policymakers: you cannot solve the climate crisis without ocean health, and ocean health is key to solving the climate crisis. Our advocacy work continues, and we are now calling on all concerned citizens to contact their Senators as of June 2022 to make sure the climate provisions of the Build Back Better Framework ($555 billion, historic levels of funding over 10 years) are included in the new reconciliation bill being created with a specifically climate focus. We have no time to waste.
Be Part of the Solution!
- CONTACT your Legislators to demand Ocean Climate Action now!
- JOIN the Ocean Climate Action Mailing List to stay informed of developments and actions
- SIGN the original Ocean Climate Action Petition and stand with us! Sign the Youth 4 Ocean Climate Action Petition to stand with the youth!
- READ the Ocean Climate Action Plan (30 pages) to educate yourself on the specific policies to create change.
- SHARE our Twitter feed @CBE_MIIS and use the hashtag #OceanClimateAction to demand change.
- BE INSPIRED by, and help grow, the diverse list of Primary Signatory Supporters fighting with us (John Kerry, Jane Fonda, Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau, indigenous groups, industry leaders, environmental and business leaders).
MEDIA KIT & MORE INFORMATION
Help us spread the word that solving the climate crisis is key to ocean health, and ocean health is key to solutions for the climate crisis. Ocean Climate Action Coalition Media Kit & Info
For questions and suggestions, please contact the Ocean Climate Action Coalition co-organizers:
Director of the Center for the Blue Economy
Author and Executive Director of Blue Frontier