Greenhouse gas pollution is the greatest threat to the ocean and the communities that rely on its health. Sea level rise and storms are threatening coastal zones and taking a disproportionate toll on those who are already facing social and economic inequities. Meanwhile, ocean warming, deoxygenation, and acidification are profoundly damaging ocean ecosystems.
The next Administration and Congress will have an enormous responsibility. In the wake of the pandemic and its economic fallout, it is essential for them to look beyond an economic reset and toward a sustainable future, setting the country on a steep trajectory to phase out greenhouse gas pollution by midcentury. The power of the ocean can support this work.
Below are the key areas of ocean-based mitigation and adaptation that the Administration and Congress should pursue to complement the full suite of climate policies necessary for economy-wide decarbonization. These include advancing blue carbon storage; reducing emissions from offshore oil and gas; supporting offshore renewable energy; reducing emissions from shipping and ports; and addressing the climate impacts of plastic pollution. They also include advancing climate-smart marine protected areas; managing flooding and sea level rise; developing climate-ready fisheries; and improving ocean and coastal water quality.
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