The United States released its Ocean Climate Action Plan, the first-ever government-wide strategy to maximize the power of the ocean to combat climate change.
The Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP) released by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris outlines new actions on the Administration’s ocean-climate priorities, including efforts to advance climate solutions, promote environmental justice, support healthy communities and ensure a robust and sustainable ocean economy. It covers eight priority areas and contains over 200 specific recommendations to “advance immediate, transformational steps to protect ocean health and address the climate crisis.”
The OCAP outlines three goals that mobilize the Federal Government and civil society to take effective and innovative ocean climate action:
- create a carbon-neutral future, without emissions that cause climate change and harm human health,
- accelerate solutions that tap the power of natural coastal and ocean systems to absorb and store greenhouse gases, reduce the climate threat, and protect communities and ecosystems against unavoidable changes, and
- enhance community resilience to ocean change by developing ocean-based solutions that help communities adapt and thrive in our changing climate
The OCAP maps out eight priority actions—including increasing offshore wind and marine energy, de-carbonizing the maritime shipping sector, conserving and restoring coastal and marine habitats that naturally store carbon (“blue carbon”), and expanding protected areas in the ocean (“marine protected areas”)—to enhance resilience of ocean ecosystems that provide food, jobs, recreational opportunities, cultural identity, and more. Guiding these actions is 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.
Ocean Policy Committee
The Ocean Policy Committee (OPC) was codified by the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 to coordinate Federal actions on ocean-related matters.
The OPC is co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)3 and is directed to engage and collaborate with the ocean community on ocean-related matters, facilitate coordination and integration of Federal activities in ocean and coastal waters to inform ocean policy, identify priority ocean science and technology needs, and to leverage resources and expertise to maximize the effectiveness of Federal investments in ocean research.