What is an Ocean Climate Action Plan?

The Biden administration proposed our country's first Ocean Climate Action Plan. What does it mean for the oceans and our climate?


Atlantic Ocean beach
liliy2025 | Pixabay.com

Healthy oceans and thriving ocean environments are essential for humankind. They hold the majority of life on our planet and are our world’s largest heat sinks, which are essential in a warming world.  Healthy coasts stabilize shorelines, and circulating ocean currents offshore store atmospheric carbon.

President Biden recognized the importance of our oceans when he released his Ocean Climate Action Plan. He is the first president to put forth such a plan, and there are a lot of questions, such as what does it mean or what does it do?

What are the goals of the Ocean Climate Action Plan?

Based on the Biden administration’s request, the Ocean Policy Committee (OPC) formed in 2021 and drafted the Ocean Climate Action Plan, which aims to (a) “create a carbon-neutral future, without emissions that cause climate change and harm human health,” (b) “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 (c) “enhance community resilience to ocean change by developing ocean-based solutions that help communities adapt and thrive in our changing climate.”

How will the Ocean Climate Action Plan achieve these goals?

The Plan outlines eight priorities for the future, which is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Notable ones are focusing on offshore wind development, the decarbonization of our shipping industry, and investments in healthy ocean ecosystems that will foster “blue carbon” storage.

How does the Ocean Climate Action Plan fit in with Pres. Biden’s previous climate and ocean conservation goals?

It will complement Biden’s commitment to preserve 30% of our public lands and waters by 2030, as well as help our nation expand and invest more in ocean energy and offshore wind development. It also outlines a path to generate 15 gigawatts (GW) of energy from floating offshore wind platforms before 2035 and 30 GW of offshore wind energy total by the end of this decade.

Where can I learn more about the Ocean Climate Action Plan?

This week, the Biden administration released the plan to the general public. If you want to learn more or dig into one topic specifically, it is here.



Ian Giancarlo

Protect Our Oceans Campaign, Advocate, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Ian works to protect our oceans and marine ecosystems. Ian lives in Denver, where he enjoys triathlons, hiking, and local breweries in his free time.

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