The United States plans to invest nearly $6 billion to restore and protect the world’s ocean from climate change, pollution and other threats.
The announcement came during the March 2–3 Our Ocean Conference in Panama.
As U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry noted during the conference, this figure more than doubles the amount the U.S. announced in 2022.
Kerry noted that the warming of the planet means more heat entering the ocean. Rising ocean temperatures can destroy coral reefs and force fish to migrate from their native habitats. As global temperatures and sea levels rise, the result is more heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires.
“Human actions are threatening the very ability of ocean ecosystems to survive,” Kerry said.
Nearly $5 billion on climate change
Of the total commitment, nearly $5 billion will tackle the climate crisis.
Working with Congress, the Biden-Harris administration plans to promote:
- Green shipping, including initiatives that promote the adoption of zero-emission fuels and vessels.
- Sustainably sited offshore renewable energy.
- Early-warning systems in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
- Programs to help Pacific islands and the Caribbean climate-proof their ocean-dependent “blue” economies, among other initiatives.
“We simply must accelerate the transition to a clean energy future,” Kerry said March 2. “I cannot stress this enough.”
The U.S. also announced:
- $665 million to support sustainable fisheries.
- $200 million to address marine pollution.
- $73 million for sustainable blue economies.
- $72 million for maritime security.
- $11 million for marine protected areas.
These are a mix of new initiatives and recent initiatives that have been discussed since the time of the previous conference.
Since the first Our Ocean Conference in 2014, participants in over 70 countries have made more than 2,100 pledges valued at approximately $128 billion.