Oceans help feed the world, provide a living for millions of people, and are home to most of the life on the planet.

NRDC works to protect our seas from pollution and exploitation. We help implement laws that allow overfished species to rebound, and we fight to protect coastal communities from offshore drilling. We work to ban destructive fishing practices, conserve ocean treasures, and improve stewardship of the world’s shared oceans, which generate trillions of dollars in economic activity.

Our Priorities

Ocean Protection

Oceans are threatened by overfishing, oil and gas drilling, mining, and other industrial activities.

Ocean Threats

Oceans are damaged every day by oil and gas drilling, pollution, and other industrial activities.

Sustainable Fishing

Populations of tuna, swordfish, and other large species have fallen by 90 percent.

Ocean Noise

The amount of noise in the ocean has doubled each decade since the 1950s.

What's at Stake

What you can do

Protect Marine Life

Urge NOAA to strengthen its plan to reduce industrial ocean noise.

10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution

What you need to know about ocean acidification

Stop Trump and Pruitt’s escalated anti-environment assault

Follow these eco-friendly beach tips on your next vacation

The Real Lowdown: The Trump and Congressional Republican Assault on Our Environment, Vol. 13
NRDC

A day that will go down in history as the time America turned its back on the world, plus more climate denial and attacks on our health from the EPA.

President Trump returns to the Oval Office after announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Sipa USA via AP

He’s under pressure for any significant legislative successes this year, under investigation over ties to Russia and underwater, deep, in his poll standings.

So, what does President Trump do?

He says goodbye to American jobs, innovation, science, credibility, and our standing in the world. And sticks his fingers in the eyes of hundreds of major U.S. companies, mayors, elected officials, millions of Americans, and many countries that support worldwide efforts to rein in the dangers of climate change.

Trump did so from the sun-dappled White House Rose Garden on June 1 by announcing he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, the global accord approved by virtually the whole world to combat the dangers of climate change.

Trump suggested he’s open to renegotiating a “better deal.” Maybe from the lawn of his Florida Mar-a-Lago home as the seas rise?

It’s questionable that other countries, having been snubbed today, will help Trump recover tomorrow from the “grave mistake” he’s made, said NRDC president Rhea Suh. “It’s on the rest of us now,” she added, “state and local officials, business leaders, citizens, educators, consumers, activists, and congressional members who grasp the stakes for our future: to keep the promise of Paris alive.”

With Congress on break this past week, Trump and his team continued an assault on our health and environment with unreserved verve.

Tell Trump we won't stop fighting global climate change

What Does Abandoning Paris Mean?

NRDC experts analyzed the impact of Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal and found the reckless decision will undermine our international standing; transfer leadership on climate action to China and India; and put more than a million clean energy jobs at risk. More of their analysis will be posted here.

Fake news: Trump Says Paris Hurts Jobs or the Economy

Despite the fact that 1,100 companies worth more than $3 trillion defended Paris for its economic benefits, Trump tried to justify his decision by serving up a platter of distortions and lies, which were immediately debunked by fact checkers at the Washington Post (“Fact-Checking President Trump’s Claims on the Paris Climate Change Deal”) and the New York Times (“Trump, Prioritizing Economy Over Climate, Cites Disputed Premises”).

NRDC has also weighed in on Trump’s use of a Chamber of Commerce–backed study claiming the Paris deal would hurt the U.S. economy and jobs. NRDC analysts showed that study inflated costs, ignored benefits, and overlooked the enormous potential for energy efficiency and renewable power to thrive, creating jobs and reducing pollution.

Scott Pruitt: The Power Behind the Paris Curtain

Who was that man at the Rose Garden podium cheering Trump on for lacerating the Paris Agreement?

None other than Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, key climate denier and polluter ally who reportedly had a big hand in running away from fighting the central environmental challenge of our time.

Perhaps that’s expected because Pruitt—now passing 100 days in office—has spent most of his time meeting with dirty energy interests, his Twitter postings reveal. His predecessor, Gina McCarthy, posted her daily schedule on the EPA’s website, and it was full of meetings with a wide array of stakeholders, according to news reports.

Stop Trump and Pruitt’s escalated anti-environment assault

Pruitt’s EPA Waffles on Air Pollution

Rather than try to reduce air pollution, the EPA has asked a court to reduce its burden to clean up the air. On May 30, the agency appealed a court order requiring it to complete overdue reviews of emissions from foundries and other industrial sources.

NRDC Sues Over Dismantling Methane Safeguards

NRDC also announced it was going to court—against the EPA. On May 31, NRDC said it would seek to block the Trump administration from suspending standards curbing methane leaks from oil and gas operations. Methane puts thousands of Americans at risk of asthma and cancer and is a major contributor to climate change.

“The Trump administration is giving its friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue polluting our air,” said David Doniger, head of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Air program.

NRDC is challenging the 90-day stay Pruitt issued to halt Obama-era federal methane leak detection requirements set to go into effect June 3.

What Climate Change?

If you get rid of the words climate change, you make the problem go away. That seems to be the Trump administration’s view as it continues scrubbing references to climate change from government websites. The Guardian posted a series of side-by-side images of pages under the Obama administration and changes made in what Doniger calls the Trumpocene.

That’s this week’s “Real Lowdown.” In this era in which our health and environment are under assault by Trump and congressional Republicans, NRDC has prepared a list of other far-ranging threats. And we’re vigilantly reporting on the administration’s attack on the environment through Trump Watch.

Trump Watch: NRDC tracks the Trump administration’s assaults on the environment.

Blog Post

In a series of legal actions, NRDC and our allies have thrown up significant legal blocks to slow, and possibly derail, Trump's environmental runaway train.

Blog Post

The Republican-controlled Congress was on spring break, but that hardly deterred President Trump and EPA AdministratorScott Pruitt from pressing full speed ahead with their assault on public health and the environment.

Blog Post

Paris climate agreement at risk, the EPA gets an earful, methane and coal are coming back—again.

Blog Post

We bid farewell this week to a particularly pernicious period in President Trump’s and the congressional Republicans’ double-barreled assault on public health and our environment.

Blog Post

More pro-polluters appointed, a barrage of dangerous bills advanced, and Bears Ears under threat—again. But there’s one bright spot: bold climate action in Virginia.

Blog Post

A budget that puts our health and environment last, reopening the door to highway pollution, and more attempts to squash progress on climate action.

Blog Post

While America was riveted by former FBI director Comey’s testimony, the Trump administration put marine mammals and sage grouse at risk, continued to lie about climate change, and changed the DOI’s mission statement to favor polluters.

The Real Lowdown: The Trump and Congressional Republican Assault on Our Environment, Vol. 12
NRDC

A budget that puts our health and environment last, reopening the door to highway pollution, and more attempts to squash progress on climate action.

Scarlet Sails/iStock

Presidents’ budgets are about values, putting money behind what matters most. And they lay out a vision for our country’s future. That’s why President Trump’s newly released fiscal year 2018 budget is such a startling document.

Through its thousands of pages and voluminous tables, a clear picture emerges: Trump’s vision is to put polluters and dirty fossil fuels first—and all the rest of America last. He strives to take us backward, and in doing so continues his all-out assault on our health and environment. The Trump budget, NRDC President Rhea Suh said, is a “scorched-earth campaign, literally and figuratively.”

Trump’s proposed cuts—from deep to drastic—would jeopardize everything from scientific research to Chesapeake Bay protection, from toxic-chemical cleanup to energy efficient appliances. It would threaten conservation, cleanup of climate pollutants, protections for our air and water, and steps to avoid climate chaos.

“Congress must ignore Trump’s reckless assault on the priorities we share and the progress we’ve made,” Suh also said, “and instead invest in what we all hold dear: our health, our environment, and our children’s future.”

There’s reason for hope. On Capitol Hill, his budget met strong resistance, including from leading Republicans, such as senators John Cornyn of Texas and John McCain of Arizona, who labeled it “dead on arrival.”

NRDC Experts Reveal Why the Budget Should Be D.O.A.

NRDC experts delved into the budget to determine the work that Trump values least in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the State Department. They found ample reasons why Congress should agree with McCain and Cornyn and forge ahead with writing its own budget to fund the federal government in fiscal year 2018. The president seeks to recklessly cut global climate action; to increase water pollution; to slash climate research; to starve renewable clean energy and clean energy jobs; to end successful and popular energy efficiency programs like Energy Star; to sharply curb coastal and ocean funding; to endanger wildlife; and to attack the Montreal Protocol’s phaseout of climate-polluting HFCs.

Under Pruitt, EPA readies Clean Power Plan Cancellation

Meanwhile, inside the EPA—under leadership from pro-polluter Administrator Scott Pruitt—the agency is moving to undo the most important step our country has taken to curb climate change. A draft of the initial rulemaking rescinding the Clean Power Plan is underway, news reports affirm.

But Pruitt has made no commitment to replace it. “On CPP, I think it’s yet to be determined,” he said about a replacement during a discussion on May 24 at the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels.

Scientists Contradict Pruitt on Climate Change

Perhaps that’s because Pruitt doesn’t believe global warming is happening, so there’s no need to act. Earlier this year during his confirmation process, he submitted written comments asserting that over the past two decades satellite data indicate there’s a “leveling off of warming.”

On May 24, scientists countered. They published a scientific paper in the journal Nature Scientific Reports that reviewed temperature trends in three satellite data sets going back to 1979 and found Pruitt was wrong. “Satellite temperature measurements do not support the claim of a ‘leveling off of warming’ over the past two decades,” the authors wrote.

Trump Holds Up Stop Sign on Addressing Highway Pollution

On May19, the Trump administration indefinitely delayed a new requirement to measure greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s highways and transportation systems. In doing so, Trump is brushing off not only the fact that the transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to climate-changing pollution but also ignoring significant efforts—supported by key transportation planners and underway in California―to develop a smarter, cleaner transportation system.

“This commonsense performance standard simply requires that regions and states measure carbon pollution from transportation sources so their effects are clear and help to improve their plans to reduce pollution,” said Deron Lovaas, senior policy adviser in NRDC’s Urban Solutions program. Federal highway staff, he added, “are prepared to implement the rule, and political appointees should let them do their jobs.”

The Road to Paris Is Uncertain

Looking ahead, Trump seemed poised to finally decide whether to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement approved in Paris. Backing out would go against the recommendations of dozens of world leaders, hundreds of U.S. businesses, hundreds of city and regional leaders, millions of Americans—even the pope.

Tell Trump we won't stop fighting global climate change

When Trump met with Pope Francis on May 24, the Vatican urged the United States to stay a party to the agreement approved by nearly 200 nations. Says who? Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon and Trump’s secretary of state, who reportedly is among those in favor of staying in the Paris climate agreement.

Energy efficiency standards stand tall

One point of good news from the Trump world: The Energy Department signed off on three Obama-era efficiency standards for dedicated-purpose pool pumpsresidential central air conditioners and heat pumps, and miscellaneous refrigeration products. They were set for publication in the Federal Register on May 26. The standards were developed via an Energy Department advisory board in which efficiency advocates and industry negotiated the standards. Earlier in the week, the Energy Department upheld another Obama-era efficiency standard for ceiling fans.

That’s this week’s “Real Lowdown.” In this era in which our health and environment are under assault by Trump and congressional Republicans, NRDC has prepared a list of other far-ranging threats. And we will be vigilantly monitoring and reporting on the administration’s attack on the environment through Trump Watch.

Trump Watch: NRDC tracks the Trump administration’s assaults on the environment.

Blog Post

In a series of legal actions, NRDC and our allies have thrown up significant legal blocks to slow, and possibly derail, Trump's environmental runaway train.

Blog Post

The Republican-controlled Congress was on spring break, but that hardly deterred President Trump and EPA AdministratorScott Pruitt from pressing full speed ahead with their assault on public health and the environment.

Blog Post

Paris climate agreement at risk, the EPA gets an earful, methane and coal are coming back—again.

Blog Post

We bid farewell this week to a particularly pernicious period in President Trump’s and the congressional Republicans’ double-barreled assault on public health and our environment.

Blog Post

More pro-polluters appointed, a barrage of dangerous bills advanced, and Bears Ears under threat—again. But there’s one bright spot: bold climate action in Virginia.

Blog Post

A day that will go down in history as the time America turned its back on the world, plus more climate denial and attacks on our health from the EPA.

Blog Post

While America was riveted by former FBI director Comey’s testimony, the Trump administration put marine mammals and sage grouse at risk, continued to lie about climate change, and changed the DOI’s mission statement to favor polluters.

Latin America Green News: 5/19 - 5/25/2017
Maria Martinez

Latin America Green News: Colombia grants rights to the Atrato River, Argentina's nuclear deal with China, electric vehicles get a boost

To get the weekly Latin America Green News blog delivered directly to your email, subscribe here.

May 19 – 25, 2017

Conservation

An estimated eight million tons of plastic waste collect in oceans annually, and if this trend continues, by 2050 the ocean would have more plastic than fish. A new alliance between Parley for the Oceans and the brewer of Corona beer intends to fight this trend by protecting 100 islands from this increasing amount of ocean waste. They will focus on six initial countries, including Chile, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Maldives Islands, Australia, and Italy. Parley has committed to a policy of “Avoid, Replace, and Redesign” in its operations to reduce or eliminate plastic entirely. Corona has committed to transitioning from using plastic in its packaging to either wood or metal which are less harmful. Each country will have an assigned brand ambassador to ensure that the policies are being implemented locally. (La Tercera 5/21/17)

Colombia’s Constitutional Court set a major precedent this week by ruling that the Atrato River – one of the country’s most polluted – is “subject to the rights that implicate its protection, conservation, maintenance and in this specific case, restoration.” The Court also found that the government has been neglectful by allowing the Atrato to become so polluted, and required that the government take steps to clean it up. The river begins in the Andes Mountains and, as it snakes down toward the Caribbean Sea, is fed by 15 tributaries and 300 streams. Illegal mining, logging, and other activities dump harmful waste—including mercury— into the water, which impact the local communities who depend on the river for their livelihoods. Ximena Gonzalez, one of the lawyers representing Tierra Digna, one of the NGOs that brought the case, has called the case a success but remains skeptical that the translation from court ruling to government bureaucracy will achieve meaningful changes for the local population. (Mongabay 5/22/17, Red por la Justicia Ambiental de Colombia 5/7/17, El Espectador 4/29/17)

Climate Change

The Mexican sub-secretary for Environmental Policy and Planning, Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, gathered with the governor of Washington state to discuss cooperation on climate change and environmental issues. The sub-secretary and the governor agreed that the territories they represent share many of the challenges, and both signed a letter of intent committing to defining the proper mechanisms to achieve bilateral cooperation in the short-term. Some of the themes that came up during the discussions included maintaining clean oceans, as well as promoting scientific investigations in fields related to environmental and climate change studies. (Pagina Ciudadana, 5/22/17)

Energy

Argentine president Mauricio Macri has reached a deal with Chinese counterparts to construct two nuclear energy plants in Argentina. The deal was part of Macri’s visit to China, where the nuclear agreement was highlighted when the Argentine president met with Chinese president Xi Jinping. The two plants would be built with the help of the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation, which plan to begin construction of one plant in January of 2018, and the second plant in 2020. The plants will cost around US$ 14 billion, 85 percent of which will be initially financed by the Chinese government. This sum will be repaid during a period of 20 years, but there will be a grace period of eight years to allow the plants to begin operation. Soon after the announcement, local leaders and politicians in the region of Río Negro—where the plants would be located—promised to push back against the plan, citing environmental and security concerns. (Clarín 5/17/17, Los Andes 5/16/17, El Diario Madryn 5/19/17)

Transportation

Several of Chile’s Ministries are collaborating to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The Chilean capital of Santiago will introduce electric vehicles during its next round of bidding for its bus rapid transit system, considering different ways to incentivize electric vehicles. There are an estimated 100 electric vehicles currently in circulation within the country, and the energy company Enel has installed about a dozen charging points in Santiago. Enel’s general manager in Chile, Nicola Cotugno, has stated that the initial investment into these technologies would cost more than US$ 20 million, but that government intervention could favor the transition towards electric vehicles. (Pulso, via Revista Electricidad 5/23/17)

Argentina is also looking to encourage electric vehicles. The government is modifying its policies to create incentives for the electric vehicle industry to flourish. The country has reduced tariffs on these vehicles and service stations have installed rapid-recharge stations. The tariffs have been reduced significantly in order to allow for up to 6,000 units to be introduced with minimal costs added. For example, a Toyota Prius that would have cost US$ 62,000 now would cost a quarter less at US$ 46,000. The national energy producer YPF has announced an investment of US$13 million to install 220 rapid-charge posts in 110 stations. Compared to gasoline, a thousand-kilometer trip could save the consumer US$ 1,400. (La Nación 5/23/17)

This week's blog features contributions from Michael Khayan.

A Budget That Scorches the Planet
Rhea Suh

President Trump’s new slash-and-burn budget puts polluters first and the rest of us—and our children—last. 

Richard Keller/iStock

President Trump opened a new front in his assault on our environment and health on Tuesday, releasing detailed budget proposals that amount to a scorched-earth campaign—literally and figuratively.

The budget calls for draconian cuts in programs that help clean up and protect our air, water, and lands from toxic pollution; support for energy efficient appliances that save families billions of dollars in energy costs each year; and the scientific research we depend on to grasp and confront emerging threats.

Generally, a president’s budget recommendations provide the starting point for debate in Congress, which has ultimate control over federal spending. This version falls short of that standard. Congress should ignore the president’s reckless recommendations and start from scratch with a budget that reflects our right to clean water and air and the long-standing American values around the need to leave our children a livable world.

Of every dollar the federal government spends, one-fifth of a penny goes to support the work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—one-fifth of a penny to the agency charged with cleaning up our air and water and protecting us from dangerous pollution.

Trump wants to cut that by 31 percent, to reduce environmental protection resources next year by $2.6 billion—the same amount he wants taxpayers to spend to build a wall and otherwise buttress security along the U.S.-Mexico border. The cuts Trump has proposed would hobble the EPA so much that it would jeopardize the agency’s ability to do its job as required by law, exposing Americans to needless risk.

Trump Watch: NRDC tracks the Trump administration’s assaults on the environment.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt calls this going “back to basics.” Going back—period—is more like it. The $5.7 billion Trump has proposed to fund the EPA next year would take the agency back to its lowest funding level since 1990. Adjusted for inflation, it’s the lowest level in 40 years, a period during which the U.S. economy has nearly tripled in size and the population has grown about 50 percent.

Our society has become larger and more complex, and so have the environmental hazards we face. We won’t build a more vibrant and prosperous nation by turning our back on those threats.

Nor can we balance the budget by focusing on one-fifth of 1 percent of spending. That’s not what this is about. It’s about taking the top environmental steward off the beat so fossil fuel companies and other industrial polluters are free to threaten the rest of us with toxic pollution and environmental ruin.

It’s about abandoning efforts to clean up iconic waterways like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. It’s about crippling our ability to clean up toxic chemicals from shuttered factories or cleaning contamination from our rivers and wetlands. It’s about curtailing our capacity to monitor the air we breathe for pollutants like mercury, soot, and radon. And it’s about cutting the legs out from under the progress we’re making at home and abroad in the fight against global climate change.

Also on the chopping block is the EPA’s Energy Star program. A popular tool that helps consumers choose energy efficient refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances, Energy Star has saved our families more than $360 billion in utility bills since 1992, all while reducing our national carbon footprint. Why would we get rid of such a program?

Trump also wants to slash funding for U.S. Department of Energy work to help advance clean, renewable wind and solar power. And he wants to eliminate the department’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which has helped more than seven million low-income families make their homes more comfortable while cutting energy waste. These cuts don’t make sense—and they undermine one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy: the clean energy sector that employs more than three million American workers.

EPA spending on science and technology would be whittled down by nearly half, eliminating essential research in areas like air quality, water pollution, oceans protection, climate change, and the links between toxic chemicals and human health. Similarly, Trump’s budget would also cut important work by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which monitor and track global changes to the earth’s oceans, polar ice caps, atmospheric temperatures, and carbon dioxide levels.

To see a threat and not respond is foolish. To shut down the basic science that tells us what’s happening to our planet is reprehensible. Closing our eyes to a problem won’t make it go away, no matter how this president tries to tell us it will.

Budgets are about values, putting our money on what matters most. Trump’s slash-and-burn budget puts polluters first and the rest of us dead last. It betrays our values and leaves our kids to pay the price.

Congress must ignore Trump’s reckless assault on the priorities we share and the progress we’ve made, and instead invest in what we all hold dear: our health, our environment, and our children’s future.

Protect Our Coasts: Week of Action
Franz Matzner
A Hands Across the Sand event in Long Beach, NY, on May 20, 2017

Source: Dani Tinker/NRDC

Over the weekend, a tidal wave of opposition to expanded offshore drilling washed over the nation, initiating a Week of Action protesting any attempts to sell-off our collective ocean resources to the oil industry.

At over 100 events in 19 states, and in multiple countries, people came together to oppose exposing our commonly held coastal resources, local economies, public health, and climate to the inherent harms of offshore drilling.

For far too long, the fossil fuel industry has benefited from taxpayer subsidies to buy-up our federally managed coastal waters, putting all they support at risk. Fortunately, last year many of our still unspoiled beaches and pristine waters were taken out of harm’s way. But now, the Trump administration is trying to reverse course despite a two-year wave of opposition from local leaders, business investors, faith leaders, conservation voices, and residents from every corner of America.

Those same voices were on display over the weekend, and many more will be standing up against the Trump Administrations reckless—and unnecessary—attempts to pull the rug out from under communities who had finally received the certainty they need regarding this tremendous risk to their economic future and the public waters they cherish.

For example, today over 130 local, regional, and national organizations are sending a letter to Secretary Zinke and Congressional leaders, reiterating their firm support for the protection and preservation of our coasts; opposition to the Trump Administration’s invitation for oil to start washing up on our yet-unsullied beaches. They write:

“Our oceans belong to us—the American people—and should be preserved and protected, not turned over to private companies for their short-term and short-sighted financial gain. Our future depends on clean renewable energy, not sacrificing our precious waters for oil that harms our families’ health and pollutes our oceans.”

The American people recognize it is folly to put our remaining ocean resources in harm’s way. Healthy oceans support fishing and tourism, cornerstones of coastal economies, and sustain unique cultures in Alaska and along each of America’s seaboards.

Further, attempts to start drilling in these regions constitutes a total rejection of the clean energy economy that is already fueling our future and can produce jobs while cutting pollution. Or, in the words of one Goldman Sachs analyst, high cost, high risk offshore drilling proposals are little more than “vanity projects”, out of synch with the clean energy revolution.  This is in part because the long-lead times required to begin offshore drilling means any oil produced would not show up for decades—at which point we must have transitioned to clean energy to combat climate change and maintain our position as a global energy leader.

Reckless. Harmful. Unnecessary. It’s time to draw a line in the sand against expanded offshore drilling. Click here to add your voice to those standing up for clean beaches, clean energy, and a brighter future for the next generation.

133 NGO Letter to Secretary Zinke Opposing the Expansion of Offshore Drilling
Letter

133 nonprofit organizations from across the United States sent a letter to Interior Secretary Zinke in opposition to the expansion of offshore drilling. "Offshore drilling brings unacceptable risks to our oceans, coastal residents, communities, existing economies, and our climate," the groups wrote. The letter was sent as the Department of the Interior initiated a process to revise a 5 year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing, covering 2017 - 2022, recently finalized by the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration has indicated it wants to open as much of America's oceans to drilling as it can.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Oceans