Ocean Climate Action Plan
28 March 2023
There is no path to a healthy and livable climate without the ocean. Humans can benefit from the ocean’s potentialto advance transformational, urgent, and immediate actions that address the climate crisis and stem the harms that climate change is already causing to coastal communities, marine resources, and the sustainable ocean economy. That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration developed this first-ever, whole-of-government Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP) to advance climate solutions, promote environmental justice, create good-paying jobs, and ensure sustainable coastal communities and a healthy ocean economy. Recognizing that effective action will require broad national participation, the OCAP was developed with input from across the Federal Government, Tribal Nations, other Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders, and the public. The plan outlines the ocean climate actions needed to meet three goals: (1) Create a carbon-neutral future without harmful emissions that cause climate change, (2) Accelerate nature-based solutions to protect and support natural coastal and ocean systems that store greenhouse gases, reduce the climate threat, and protect communities and ecosystems against unavoidable changes, and (3) Enhance community resilience to ocean change by developing ocean-based solutions that help communities adapt and thrive in our changing climate. The OCAP directs near-term actions to reach these goals. For example, increasing offshore wind and marine energy, decarbonizing the maritime shipping sector, and advancing marine carbon dioxide removal and storage technologies will provide powerful levers for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, contributing significantly to a carbon-neutral future. Conserving and restoring coastal and marine habitats that naturally store carbon (“blue carbon”) and expanding protected areas in the ocean (“marine protected areas”) that can help respond to the changing climate will advance nature-based ocean climate actions. These nature-based ocean climate actions generate multiple benefits for slowing and responding to climate change, stemming the loss of biodiversity, and supporting people and communities, especially those who directly depend on the coasts and the ocean. The OCAP outlines additional ways to protect coastal communities and enhance the resilience of fisheries, aquaculture, and fishing communities who are dependent on the ocean, thus bolstering community resilience to changing ocean conditions. Guiding these actions are overarching commitments to be responsible stewards of a healthy and sustainable ocean; to advance environmental justice; to engage with communities, Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples, including Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. Territories; to engage in robust outreach; to act based on sound science, evidence, and knowledge; and to integrate and coordinate actions across the Federal Government.