The Biden administration on Tuesday presented a new approach to cooperate with the ocean to reduce and adapt to the climate issue.
At the White House Conservation in Action Summit, President Joe Biden announced the release of the first Ocean Climate Action Plan in American history. He also officially named two new national monuments and requested the Secretary of Commerce consider creating a national marine sanctuary in American waters near the Pacific Remote Islands.
According to Biden, we can lessen emissions by constructing offshore wind farms, better safeguarding our coastal and fishing towns from severe storms, shifting fisheries, and other effects of climate change
Three Key Objectives of The Ocean Climate Action Plan Are:
- Achieve carbon neutrality.
- Work with the oceans to develop nature-based solutions to store carbon dioxide, reduce the risk from the climate crisis and protect communities and ecosystems from inevitable changes.
- Work with the ocean to boost the resilience of communities to those same changes.
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The report outlined eight key activities to achieve these objectives, including increasing offshore wind and other ocean-based renewable energy projects, decarbonizing maritime shipping, protecting and restoring marine and coastal carbon sinks, and establishing more marine protected areas. The Biden administration has already vowed to safeguard 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030.
The Ocean Policy Committee co-chairs Arati Prabhakar and Brenda Mallory wrote in a letter introducing the plan that the actions are guided by a commitment to be responsible stewards of a healthy and sustainable ocean, advance environmental justice, engage with communities, Tribal Nations, and Indigenous Peoples, act based on evidence, science, and Indigenous Knowledge, and integrate and coordinate actions across the Federal Government.
To commemorate World Ocean Day in 2022, the Biden administration first declared its desire to create an ocean climate plan. Ocean advocacy organizations enthusiastically embraced the final release.
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According to Ocean Defense Initiative Director Jean Flemma in a statement issued to EcoWatch, this Ocean Climate Action Plan is the first comprehensive strategy the United States has used to harness the power of the ocean in the battle against climate change. As a result of the plan, strong climate action should spread coast to coast, reducing emissions and assisting vulnerable communities. Yet, a plan is only as strong as its implementation.
In order to guarantee that effective ocean climate action policies are adopted by all federal agencies and benefit the areas that need them the most, we look forward to cooperating with the Biden Administration.
The wider impact of some ocean-based climate solutions suggested for investigation is one issue with implementation, according to Inside Climate News. One such initiative would seed portions of the ocean with minerals that would boost the growth of photosynthetic plankton. Although other natural marine cycles would be disturbed, this would reduce carbon dioxide.
Yet, as the ocean already absorbs around 90% of additional warming, supporters of the ocean are generally pleased to see recognition of the role the ocean already plays in reducing the effects of the climate problem.
Oceana Senior Director of Federal Policy Lara Levison told USA TODAY that when talking about climate action and solutions, ocean policy is frequently neglected. There is a great deal of focus on what is happening on land, but the ocean is not given nearly enough attention.
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Overall, the group applauded the proposal but encouraged the government to take other steps to restrict offshore oil and gas development. Biden has recently faced criticism for his support of the contentious Willow oil drilling project in Alaska. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated in its most recent report that the carbon budget for keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels would be consumed by existing fossil fuel projects.
According to Oceana’s Vice President for the United States, Beth Lowell, it is encouraging that President Biden is taking the climate catastrophe seriously and making sure that our oceans are taken into account in the plan to address it. Our seas have so far helped shield humanity from the worst effects of climate change, and we are aware that they have a significant potential to prevent the earth from warming up to catastrophic levels. Yet for that to happen, nations like the US must halt the growth of hazardous and polluting offshore drilling.
According to the group’s calculations, the United States could avoid more than $720 billion in damages and prevent more than 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere if it outlawed offshore drilling in unleased federal waters.