by OCAP Team

Ocean Climate Action Logo--wave crashing of U.S. Capitol
(Credit: Image credit Jim Toomey, creator of Sherman's Lagoon )

Adds Missing Pieces to House Climate Change Framework
 

MONTEREY, CA — July 13, 2020  The Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, CA, and Blue Frontier, a leading ocean conservation and policy group, just issued a unique, comprehensive, Ocean Climate Action Plan, offering a cure for the battered post-pandemic economy and new approaches to the climate emergency.

But timing and quick action are essential.  Even without the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s hurricane season storms are likely to be 30% more destructive than similar storms that came ashore in 1980 due to climate impacts, according to a new study by NOAA.

Hurricane Sandy Marblehead Massachusets
Hurricane Sandy  was the deadliest and most destructive, as well as the strongest, hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. Inflicting nearly $70 billion (2012 USD) in damage, it was the second-costliest hurricane on record in the United States until surpassed by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria in 2017. (source: Wikipedia) (Credit: Wikimedia Image By The Birkes )
Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy, young yet bald white dude wearing blue t-shirt
Jason Scorse, Associate Professor; Program Chair, International Environmental Policy; Director, Center for the Blue Economy
“Now is the time to make the strategic investments that will help decarbonize the economy, promote innovation that creates many new jobs and industries, and directly addresses the economic inequalities and injustices that ravage the nation.  A healthy coastal ecosystem and a thriving blue economy will enhance human well-being, and will pay us back many times over.”

-Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy
 

The Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP)—Blue New Deal—is a non-partisan, broad-reaching policy framework that includes investing in living shorelines, federal flood insurance reform, offshore clean energy, port operations, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, marine biodiversity, and education. These solutions have been missing from earlier Congressional climate change approaches, including the Green New Deal.  Many appear in the new Democratic Climate Plan, however, OCAP adds additional and practical solution-oriented proposals that go beyond the current Democratic thinking.

Blue Economy and Ocean Photos

Miami panoramic water, highways, buildings
panorama of the SF bay bringe taken from the water level
Michael Graham, founder of Monterey Bay Seaweed, holding bright green lettuce seaweed above water tank
Offshore wind turbines in a choppy sea
Two ladies walking on beach with surfboards balanced on their heads
Fishing Boats on land with sky and sea behind
dramatic coastline of Big Sur, California.  Coastal mountains meeting turquoise blue ocean.
Striking image of golden, swirling sand dunes dropping off to blue ocean
Rainbow over cliffs and ocean
Scuba diver in blue ocean with light from behind slash above
San Diego Skyline with Moon
San Diego, CA, USA

OCAP includes policies that will benefit coastal communities across the US, especially in the Gulf States that are most at risk from storms, but also inland communities in the industrial heartland who will benefit from alternative seafood production due to their large skilled workforce and low-cost real estate. The mid-Atlantic regions with the best offshore wind capacity will benefit from OCAP’s recommendations to streamline permitting and regulatory requirements. And the Pacific Northwest will benefit greatly from a new federal focus on sustainable aquaculture, including shellfish that can reduce our seafood trade deficit.

David Helvarg, Director of Blue Frontier, older white dude with blue cap on, shown in front of ocean in Humbolt, CA
“We are pleased with our collaboration across many sectors and industries, including conservationists, maritime industries, municipalities, communities at risk, youth activists, and the financial sector.  Congress will be able to draw on these recommendations to resolve the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken so many lives and caused so much economic hardship.”

-David Helvarg, Executive Director of Blue Frontier

Development of the Ocean Climate Action Plan began in March 2019. Feedback following meetings with representatives from Native American Nations and tribal organizations, a Youth Advisory Council, plus additional input from leading conservation NGOs, state and local leaders, and the maritime and financial industries, have been incorporated into this final report. These recommendations represent a unique approach and the collective wisdom of hundreds of the leading marine and coastal organizations and researchers from across the nation.

Charley Peebler, Co-Founder, Heirs To Our Oceans--Girl of 16 with curly, short hair, yellow t-shirt, looking determined directly at camera
“We are working to assure change. We have been involved to make sure that the next generation has a healthy future.”

-Charley Peebler, 16, a founder of the group Heirs to Our Oceans, and a member of the OCAP Youth Advisory Council

OCAP will ensure that ocean resources are put to use to dramatically reduce GHG emissions and that coastal communities across the country are able to effectively and equitably adapt to coastal climate impacts, which include rising sea levels, greater storm frequency, harmful algal blooms, and ocean acidification.

One of OCAP’s central tenets—repeated throughout the plan—is that investments and economic support must be made available to all to meet these needs, with special attention paid to and in collaboration with the most vulnerable communities of color, low-income groups, and tribal/Indigenous entities in our inland ocean and coastal regions.

Congressional leaders already committed to the Ocean Climate Action Plan include:  Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC).

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. 
 

Next steps:

The policies and investments outlined in the OCAP report are meant to form the basis for federal legislation that will make America a world leader in many of the innovative blue economy industries that will define the 21st century. The plan lays out the best policies to put America back on track with the new Congress in January 2021. These new investments will protect and sustain existing industries, while developing and expanding new ones, leading to many good stable jobs, sustained economic growth, as well as the restoration of our prized coastal and marine habitats.