Opinion | How Biden Can Use the Ocean to Fight Climate Change

Cut back Emissions from Transport: We additionally want to look to the ocean to considerably scale back contributors of greenhouse fuel emissions, resembling maritime shipping, which generates more emissions than airlines. The administration, working with ports and the transport trade, can implement methods that can transfer us to zero-carbon transport by 2050 to drastically scale back the local weather contributions of cargo ships and freighters at sea. Infrastructure enhancements at ports, fleet upgrades and different fuels can all be a part of the effort.

Rebuild Coastal Ecosystems: By defending the ocean, we additionally allow the ocean to defend us via pure local weather mitigation. Carbon-rich coastal environments like salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests all naturally absorb carbon up to 4 instances extra successfully than bushes on land. And after we preserve these habitats for his or her local weather advantages, we’re additionally defending pure coastal infrastructure that can safeguard communities in opposition to storms and rising sea ranges. That is notably essential for supporting marginalized communities, together with low-income neighborhoods that had been in-built flood zones and are on the entrance strains of the local weather disaster.

Washington has by no means earlier than had a complete ocean local weather plan that weaves these efforts collectively. So as to notice the ocean’s potential to curb the local weather disaster, the White Home should marshal businesses throughout the authorities, so they’re working in live performance towards the similar targets. President Joe Biden has taken a collection of promising steps all through his first 12 months in workplace, however the U.S. nonetheless wants a coordinated federal technique to flip this momentum into lasting outcomes. The White Home, to its credit score, just lately held its first meeting of the congressionally licensed Ocean Coverage Committee and made a dedication to develop a brand new cross-cutting technique.


As the committee places pen to paper, it mustn’t waste the alternative to map out the greatest methods that embrace the ocean as a local weather answer. From our time as Cupboard officers in earlier administrations, we’ve been in the trenches on policymaking and know it’s important to have an overarching technique relatively than letting every company chart its personal path. A coordinated coverage method is simpler as a result of it permits the administration to determine massive image targets and get rid of duplicative efforts.

As we speak, we work with a bipartisan effort to catalyze motion towards significant ocean coverage reform known as the Joint Ocean Fee Initiative. Alongside over 100 ocean policy leaders — starting from out of doors recreation manufacturers to skilled browsing organizations — we stand prepared to be part of with the administration to advance a complete ocean local weather motion plan.

It’s true that political disagreement has delayed local weather motion for much too lengthy. Whereas we come from totally different events, we’ve discovered frequent trigger on ocean coverage and see it as a very fruitful space of bipartisan cooperation.

In any case, our ocean and coastlines are important to our financial and nationwide safety. They’re additionally the basis for what we name the “Blue Financial system,” which acknowledges the wealth of marine sources — from sustainable fishing to aquaculture to transport to tourism — that have to be balanced sustainably to assist jobs and financial development. With the Blue Financial system anticipated to develop at twice the price of the total economic system, it’s arduous to think about a greater return on funding than securing the well being and way forward for our ocean.


Now greater than ever, we want to be taking each alternative to keep away from local weather disaster — and the clock is ticking. From Class 5 hurricanes on the East Coast, to wildfires out West, to devastating tornadoes in the Midwest, we’re seeing the results of local weather change every single day. Our nation is poised like by no means earlier than to advance daring local weather motion, and a coordinated ocean local weather motion plan will help flip that tide.

The ocean makes up over 70 % of our planet. We imagine it might probably assist save the planet itself.

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