Days after Joe Biden became president-elect, Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of 2020, breaking the record set in 2005. As the warming ocean continues to fuel extreme weather, Americans have elected a man who ran on the most ambitious climate plan of any presidential candidate to date, and reelected 92 of the 93 representatives who cosponsored the Green New Deal Resolution. Meanwhile, Biden has appointed former secretary of state John Kerry, a champion for the ocean throughout his career, as his special presidential envoy for climate. And the international Ocean Panel, representing 14 world leaders, recently announced a new ocean action agenda.
As these political and oceanic events collide, now what? As the Biden transition team nominates political appointees and lays out their plan of action, where does opportunity lie? One answer is found in the fundamental role the ocean plays in the planet’s climate system. The ocean’s heroic potential is being embraced by the newly introduced Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020. Sponsored by Representatives Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Kathy Castor of Florida, and 37 of their colleagues, the bill provides a road map to harness the power of the ocean to reduce carbon emissions, protect front-line communities, restore coastal and ocean ecosystems, and create new jobs in the “blue economy.” Congress should pass this bill, and the Biden administration should take inspiration from it to immediately use executive authorities to advance ocean climate solutions.
The above excerpt was originally published in The Boston Globe.
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