House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva unveiled his Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act at a virtual press conference with his co-lead, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor, original cosponsors and a range of bill endorsers. This landmark legislation was introduced by more than a dozen members of the House of Representatives to address the ocean impacts of climate change and reform federal ocean management to better account for climate mitigation.

“The ocean is a powerful ally in the climate fight, and unleashing its potential will help us reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier,” Castor said. “The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act incorporates many of the recommendations in our Climate Crisis Action Plan, which gives Congress a roadmap for creating a healthier, more resilient, and more just America. It will unleash the incredible power of the ocean and address the threat that offshore drilling poses to America’s coastal communities, including my own community in the Tampa Bay.”

The Act includes a national offshore wind target of 12.5 GW by 2025 and 25 GW by 2030.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan thanked the committee on including wind energy in the ocean bill.

“The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act will help blow the wind into the sails of the American offshore wind industry,” he said. “AWEA expects 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 will produce 83,000 jobs and $25 billion in annual economic output — this Act will go a long way in realizing those benefits. We look forward to continuing to work with these and other leaders on this important legislation.”

In addition to the wind target, the Ocean-Based Climate Solution Act:

Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The bill supports the transition to a clean energy economy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with ocean sectors and increasing ocean-based renewable energy — helping us to move away from fossil fuels and protect the ocean and coastal habitats that are important to healthy fish, marine wildlife, and coastal economies.

Increases Carbon Storage in Blue Carbon Ecosystems. The bill recognizes the carbon storage potential and other co-benefits provided by “blue carbon” ecosystems like salt marshes, sea grasses, and mangroves. These ecosystems absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and safely store it at a rate of up to four times that of forests on land. They also protect coastal communities by limiting the impacts of coastal erosion, flooding, and storms — all while providing habitat for marine wildlife and fisheries.

Promotes Coastal Resiliency and Adaptation to protect our coasts and communities from the climate impacts we can’t avoid. It authorizes investment in coastal restoration and resilience that is a win-win-win for our economy, our frontline communities, and our environment. 

Improves Ocean Protection by promoting and protecting healthy ocean systems and wildlife populations, which are better able to adapt to the effects of climate change. Marine protected areas, like our protected areas on land, are a key part of protecting biodiversity while tackling climate change – which is more critical than ever in the face of the biodiversity crisis.

Supports Climate-Ready Fisheries with the development and implementation of strategies to improve the management of fisheries in a changing climate and also helps to promote U.S. seafood sourced from environmentally and climate-friendly fisheries.

Tackles Ocean Health Challenges by addressing the ocean health challenges of ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms, both of which cause significant harm to the U.S. seafood, recreation, and tourism industries, as well as human communities and ocean wildlife and ecosystems.

Restores U.S. Leadership in International Ocean Governance by strengthening U.S. leadership in international ocean governance at a time when transboundary pressures on our ocean demands a coordinated response. These actions would both strengthen U.S. security and promote a resilient global ocean for the 21st century.

News item from House Natural Resources Committee


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