In an effort to protect our ocean, climate, and planet, in 2014, the United States created the Our Ocean Conference. In mid-April, the United States and Palau cohosted the 7th Conference, titled Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity.
“This conference has from the very outset recognized the link between the ocean and climate … You can't solve the problem of the ocean without solving the climate crisis,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
“Why? Because the climate crisis is what is producing the heating, the warming and the pollution that is killing the ocean. And at the same time, you can't solve the problem of climate without the help of the ocean, which provides nature-based solutions and taking all of that heat and processing it, but also because it is the great climate temperature regulator. It is what governs the weather on a daily basis.”
“Yes, we are making progress. This has been an awakening, a process of awakening, but also we still need to do much more,” said Secretary Kerry.
One of the problems we face is “the willingness of people to fake it and to avoid responsibility.”
“People who are pursuing the path, frankly, of giving in to the status quo, taking the path of least resistance which happens to also produce the path of greatest destruction.”
“The fact is we do still have time, according to the science, to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” said Secretary Kerry.
First, “If shipping were a country, it would be the eighth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world,” Therefore, we must adopt a goal of zero emissions from international shipping no later than 2050.
Second, we must dramatically scale up onshore and offshore renewable energy.
Third, we must find nature-based marine solutions.
Fourth, we must tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. We need to do more to protect our ocean from being strip mined by criminals.
And finally, we must negotiate a new agreement on plastic pollution.
“We humans are responsible for the crises of the ocean and the climate. We know what the solution is,” said Secretary Kerry. “We cannot allow ourselves to be manipulated and even lied to by bad actors who want to take the easiest path of least resistance. We have to fight the indifference. I know that we can win that fight.”