California Brings Blue Leadership to COP 25

For decades the world has come together at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties to discuss the changes happening to our atmosphere—and the implications for life on earth. This week, countries and climate negotiators are talking about the other global commons for the first time—our Ocean. At COP 25, dubbed the Blue COP, many are asking, “how we can integrate oceans in climate action?”

California has an answer to that question.

Long regarded as a leader in both climate policy and ocean conservation, California has steadily developed a comprehensive portfolio of ocean-climate action which could serve as a model to other subnational and national governments seeking to protect the oceans and use their power to combat climate change.

It’s not the first time California has occupied an international stage in promoting the ocean’s climate contribution. At the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last year, Governor Jerry Brown highlighted the oceans as a critical pillar of climate action. This planted a seed that is blossoming this week in Madrid. Leaders from all over the world are meeting to discuss climate action and the contributions and protections for the big blue ocean are front and center.

Utilizing the power of the oceans to combat climate change and protecting the ocean and coastal communities from climate change will require a multi-pronged approach. California’s portfolio of ocean climate action is a shining example of how ocean policies can—and must be—climate-smart, and how climate policy must be mindful of the ocean.

NRDC and our partners will be releasing a report at the conference called Ocean-Climate Guide to Action, which showcases such ocean-centric climate action. California’s efforts to preserve natural carbon stores in marine and coastal habitats, reduce carbon emissions in ocean industries, and protect marine ecosystems and coastal communities from the most severe impacts of climate change are featured in the report.

Although the current U.S. administration isn’t placing a priority on climate action, California has filled the void in ocean climate leadership this week at the conference and is positioned to continue modeling best practices and policies for generations to come. NRDC and our partners will continue to engage and promote the climate science and policies needed now to ensure a safe future for those generations.

About the Authors

Lisa Suatoni

Deputy Director, Oceans Division, Nature Program

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