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Confronting Climate Change

Taking the ocean into account is critical for successfully addressing climate change, and addressing climate change is critical for the future of the ocean


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Now is the Time for Ocean Climate Action

As the Biden Administration and Congress work to achieve our climate commitments, the ocean must be part of the solution to address the climate crisis. Ocean climate action can provide 20% of the emissions reductions needed to achieve global targets to turn the tide in the fight against climate change. 

Incorporating these proven ocean climate solutions will help:

  • Slash harmful emissions
  • Store carbon
  • Stabilize our climate
  • Protect coastal communities from storms and rising seas
  • Preserve the ability of the ocean to provide food, jobs, and recreation 

​​A healthy ocean in turn generates clean air, provides fresh seafood, and safeguards biodiversity. The ocean is a powerful source of climate solutions. Here’s how Ocean Climate Action can help us meet the moment:

Fight Climate Change 

Protecting and restoring blue carbon ecosystems, like salt marshes, sea grasses, and kelp forests, absorb carbon out of the atmosphere and safely store up to four times more efficiently than forests on land. 

Well-planned offshore renewables like wind and tidal energy can provide clean and affordable power and reduce harmful emissions. With the Biden administration committing to 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, the U.S. has an opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs by supporting this sector through investment and production tax credits for offshore wind farms as well as the domestic manufacturing of necessary components.

Protect Coastal Communities 

The 127 million Americans who live in coastal communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Every day, rising sea levels and dangerous storms threaten their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. The bipartisan House Oceans Caucus has called for a $10 billion investment in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes restoration and resilience projects that will help mitigate climate change, shore up our natural infrastructure along shorelines, and protect coastal communities from flooding, erosion, and storm surge. 

Coastal resilience projects also create good-paying jobs and boost the overall economy. Past coastal restoration investments in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act  generated $260.5 million dollars in annual economic output and supported over 2,200 jobs. Investing in restoration and resilience projects is a productive, cost-effective way to help coastal communities survive in the face of the most severe impacts of climate change.

End Offshore Drilling 

Expanding offshore oil drilling will intensify climate change and threaten ocean and coastal habitats that are important to healthy fish, marine wildlife, and coastal economies. The October 2021 oil spill off the coast of California offers a grave reminder about the dangers of continued offshore drilling. It’s time for the Biden Administration to curb this destructive practice and accelerate the nation’s rapid, just, and equitable transition from offshore oil and gas to offshore renewable energy. 

Clean Up Ports

Nearly 40% of Americans live within 3 miles of a port. For decades, fossil fueled ships, trucks, trains, and heavy duty diesel equipment have brought significant levels of fossil fuel pollution into largely working class communities of color living in and near U.S. trading ports. These communities disproportionately experience the health risks of climate change by living on the frontlines of port communities with poor air quality and extreme weather events. 

The need to invest in coastal resilience and decarbonize all sources of pollution at America’s ports is vital to mitigating climate change, providing communities with much-needed protection from sea level rise and toxic pollution while creating jobs and addressing environmental injustices.  

If the shipping sector were a country, it would rank sixth as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The transition to a zero-emission shipping sector is within reach, but as the world’s largest consumer market, our ports are key points of access for global trade. Decarbonizing the shipping sector depends on ambitious action and leadership by the United States.  

Decarbonize Shipping

Left unchecked, shipping emissions are expected to rise by as much as 130% by 2050. The United States must lead the way in the transition to zero-carbon shipping with investments in renewable technologies for international shipping.

Congress and President Biden: Now is the time to be bold on Ocean Climate Action — before it’s too late.

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