By Scott Doney, Assistant Director for Ocean Climate Science and Policy, Office of Science and Technology Policy

This National Ocean Month, we reaffirm a key scientific finding—that the ocean is an essential part of a healthy and livable world. Threats to ocean health are well known. Globally, ocean temperatures and sea levels are rapidly rising as a result of climate change. A warming, acidifying sea creates a domino effect across marine life, ultimately threatening the communities and people who depend on the ocean. Yet, the ocean offers powerful tools for combatting climate change and creating a more resilient marine environment and ocean economy.

The United States has an extensive coastline and a large ocean area under our jurisdiction, including in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific Oceans. As a nation, we have a deep and rich connection to the sea as part of our natural environment, infrastructure, economy, culture, and history. As President Biden said in his National Ocean Month Proclamation, protecting and harnessing the power of the ocean is vital for our future.

That’s why, earlier this spring, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan, a groundbreaking roadmap to harness the power of the ocean to advance immediate, transformational steps to protect ocean health and address the climate crisis. The plan outlines new actions on the Administration’s ocean-climate priorities, including efforts to advance ocean-based climate solutions, promote environmental justice and equity, support healthy communities, and ensure a robust and sustainable ocean economy. The plan sets out broad principles, including responsibly stewarding a healthy and sustainable ocean; engaging with Tribal Nations, Indigenous Peoples, communities, and the public; and relying on sound science, evidence, and knowledge, including Indigenous Knowledge.

The Ocean Climate Action Plan advances a suite of ocean-based, technological actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that causes ocean warming and acidification. The Biden-Harris Administration is expanding offshore wind and renewable marine energy, decarbonizing the maritime shipping sector, and advancing marine carbon dioxide removal and storage technologies. At the same time, a new U.S. Ocean Acidification Action Plan—which is currently accepting public comments—will highlight U.S. leadership to combat acidification by lowering carbon emissions, strengthening ocean monitoring and research, and investing in adaptive measures to lessen the damages of acidification.

The Ocean Climate Action Plan also accelerates nature-based solutions to limit the speed and damage of climate change, while providing additional benefits for biodiversity, environmental health, and coastal communities. For example, conserving and restoring coastal and marine blue carbon habitats can remove and store carbon away from the atmosphere, further reducing emissions. Expanding protected areas in the ocean and along coasts can help ecosystems and communities weather climate and ocean changes. Also essential are climate-adaptive fisheries and aquaculture as well as coastal protection strategies that help limit the impacts from flooding, extreme weather events, and rising sea levels.

Together ocean-based actions enhance the resilience of coastal communities and bolster the sustainable ocean economy, feeding into a broader effort on the development of a U.S. National Ocean Plan. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to advancing the science, knowledge, tools, and practices that support sustainable ocean stewardship and management.

Ocean-based solutions will help the nation and the world keep climate change and the resulting climate damages from reaching catastrophic levels. When we take action to protect the ocean, we open the door to new opportunities, including well-paying and sustainable jobs, a diverse workforce, and equitable access to the ocean and coasts. We foster more resilient global food production and build a future for new ocean discovery and innovation.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top