Washington, D.C. – Today, the League of Conservations Voters (LCV), Center for American Progress (CAP), and Ocean Defense Initiative (ODI) hosted a virtual discussion on the future of ocean climate action moderated by former EPA Administrator and LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner with introductory remarks from CAP Founder John Podesta. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, Dr. Erin Meyer, Violet Sage Walker, and Isha Sangani made up the panel of experts and stakeholders discussing the ocean climate nexus and how to build momentum to implement ocean climate solutions, including actions a Biden administration can take and legislation such as Chair Grijalva’s landmark Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.
Watch the recording of the event here.
Scientists have extensively documented the impacts of climate change on the ocean. As greenhouse gas emissions have increased, the ocean has become hotter, more acidic, and less habitable for fish and wildlife. But the ocean is not just a victim of climate change. It is also a powerful source of solutions that have the potential to provide one-fifth of the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Just as the ocean plays a fundamental role in our planet’s climate system, it must play a critical role in our approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said Former EPA Administrator and LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner. “By implementing a full suite of ocean-based climate solutions, we can bolster frontline communities most at risk from climate change, increase the resilience of ocean ecosystems, and put the United States back in a leadership role in the global effort to fight the climate crisis. We need to swiftly use every tool in the toolbox to fight climate change, so I hope we’ll see bold action to harness the power of the ocean by the incoming Biden administration as well as more momentum in Congress for legislation such as Chair Grijalva’s Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.”
“As the climate crisis continues to worsen and impact our communities, Congress needs to put forth ambitious policy solutions grounded in science and community input,” said Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ). “Science tells us that ocean-based climate solutions hold the key to reducing emissions by nearly a quarter and keep us off the path of destruction. My bill, the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act, lays out a blueprint for how we get this done. I’m grateful to the Center for American Progress, League of Conservation Voters, and Ocean Defense Initiative for hosting today’s event so we can engage with communities and amplify this message to make this an even better bill for the 117th Congress.”
“My people have been in California for millennia, and now we are adapting to yet the latest threat to our lifestyle–climate change,” said Violet Sage Walker, Traditional Vice-Chairwoman, Northern Chumash Tribe. “It is rare that native peoples are given the space to lead on sustainable energy development and climate science, but the importance of that leadership and the inclusion of indigenous knowledge cannot be overstated. To preserve our way of life for the next millennia, the Chumash believe that we must protect our ocean heritage and invest in clean offshore energy.”
“I believe deeply in the power of youth to affect change for the ocean and for the climate, and I’m grateful to the attendees for listening to a young person like me speak their mind,” said Isha Sangani, EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council Member. “I’m excited to see what youth advocacy can do in coming months, especially with a new administration coming in.”
“The ocean is the planet’s life support system, and recent reports reveal that we’ve pushed it to the breaking point,” said Dr. Erin Meyer, Director of Conservation Programs and Partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium. “We must act now to protect and restore ecosystems, ensure food security, and move toward a just, climate resilient future for all.”