The ocean is a key solution to climate change, groups tell Biden


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Exclusive: Ocean is key solution to climate change, groups tell Biden

A coalition of 93 environmental groups, aquariums and outdoor recreation brands are urging the Biden administration to harness the power of the ocean to fight climate change, according to details shared exclusively with The Climate 202.

The groups will unveil a detailed blueprint of recommendations on Thursday to inform the first-ever Ocean Climate Action Plan, which President Biden announced on world oceans day this month.

“The ocean offers powerful solutions to address the climate crisis,” the plan says. “A successful ocean climate action plan will leverage both the mitigating and adaptive power of the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes and will provide the administration with significant opportunities to achieve its goals. on climate and justice.”

The groups that drafted the document include the Center for American Progress, League of Conservation Voters, mystical aquarium, Oceane, ocean conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.

Covering around 70% of the Earth’s surface, the ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat that greenhouse gas emissions have trapped in the atmosphere, threatening marine species and ecosystems.

Yet the ocean has the power to provide one-fifth of the emission reductions needed to meet the more ambitious Paris Agreement target: to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The plan offers recommendations in 12 key policy areas, including:

  • Develop responsibly located offshore wind to meet Biden’s goal of generating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.
  • Promoting maritime transport and green ports as part of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economyat which the United States announced its intention to join the The United Nations climate summit in Scotland last fall.
  • Protect “blue carbon” ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marshes, seagrasses, coral reefs and kelp forests, which can store more carbon per unit than terrestrial forests.
  • End illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
  • Reduce plastic pollution by cracking down on the 14 million tons of plastic that end up in the ocean every year.
  • Combat ocean acidification which harms many ocean species and contributes to massive coral bleaching.
  • Improve coastal resilience to protect communities from severe storms and rising seas.
  • Assess the potential for removal of ocean-based carbon dioxide.

“Often what people hear about the ocean is just bad news, like coral reefs and whales are in big trouble,” Miriam Goldsteinsenior director of conservation policy at the Center for American Progress, told The Climate 202.

“It’s true,” she said. “But we want this plan to be a message of hope and action: we know what we need to do to create a better future for the ocean and for humanity. And here are some actions that can get us there.

President of the Chamber of Natural Resources Raul M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) praised the plan in a statement, saying the document “outlines the bold and significant steps we need to take now to secure a sustainable future for our oceans and our planet.”

On World Oceans Day, Biden also announced that he would nominate the hudson canyon about 100 miles from New York City a new National Marine Sanctuary. The The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will seek public comment on the outlines of the sanctuary from conservationists, the fishing industry and offshore energy developers, among others.

Meanwhile, Biden charged the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Environmental Quality Council with the development of the ocean climate action plan as co-chairs of the Ocean Policy Committee.

“In developing America’s first-ever Ocean Climate Action Plan, we will — based on ideas and contributions from across the country and the best available science — develop a plan to protect America’s ocean resources from impacts of climate change, and leveraging the ocean offers many climate solutions,” the office and council said in a joint statement. “This new report is a welcome contribution and reflects clear scientific findings on the importance of the ocean as a solution to climate change.”

Exclusive: 175 House Democrats tell Biden to strike deal on climate provisions as part of reconciliation

A coalition of 175 House Democrats urges President Biden to secure agreement on climate investments in his budget reconciliation bill, which passed the House in November but has been stalled in the Senate for months, according to a letter shared exclusively with The Climate 202.

“We are writing to urge you to do everything in your power to reach agreement and enact a revised reconciliation package as soon as possible that includes the climate investments passed by the U.S. House of Representatives,” they said. wrote the Democrats in the letter. “These investments were among the many important provisions of this package, and we would support a deal that included as much of the bill as possible as passed by the House.”

The letter was organized by the management of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, New Democrat Coalition and House Coalition for Sustainable Energy and the Environment. It was signed by 13 committee chairs.

Chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal (Washington), chairman of the NDP coalition Suzan Delbene (Washington) and SEEC Co-Chairs Gerald E. Connolly (Virginia.), Paul Tonko (New York) and Doris Matsui (California) will hold a press conference on Capitol Hill today to amplify its message.

The budget reconciliation package has stalled in the Senate since December amid opposition from Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.). Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) continued to meet with Manchin to discuss a possible deal, but Democrats have a narrow legislative window before the July 4 and August recess.

“The window for reaching an agreement is rapidly closing,” the letter states, “and so time is running out.”

House Republicans call on Biden to rethink solar tariff exemptions

Representatives Robert E. Latta (R-Ohio) and Cathy McMorrisRodgers (R-Wash.), the rank member of the House Energy and Commerce Committeeled a letter on Wednesday urging President Biden to cancel its recent tariff exemptions for the American solar industry in a context Commerce Department investigation into alleged circumvention of customs duties by Chinese manufacturers.

“Regardless of the outcome of the DOC’s investigation, the decision to waive tariffs sends a clear message to our foreign adversaries that our trade enforcement laws will not be enforced by your administration,” the lawmakers wrote. in the letter.

The Biden administration suspended tariffs this month in hopes of getting hundreds of stalled solar projects back on track. The Commerce Department investigation carries the threat of retroactive tariffs, which has left the industry fearful of crippling costs.

Biden ready to use Defense Production Act to boost gasoline production

President Biden is ready to use Defense Production Act to strengthen the country’s gasoline supply and reduce costs at the pump, Ari Natter and Jenny Leonard of the Bloomberg News report.

“Already the president has demonstrated his willingness to use this emergency power to reduce costs for families,” White House Press officer Karine Jean-Pierre said at a Wednesday briefing when asked about using the law to increase refining capacity. “We’re saying the president has used it before and is ready to do it again,” she added, referring to Biden’s recent moves to invoke war-era law. to boost domestic solar power manufacturing and increase the supply of infant formula. .

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning, Biden urged the CEOs of some of the nation’s biggest oil companies to increase production, warning fossil fuel giants that he was considering invoking ’emergency authorities’ to increase production. refineries, Ben Geman and Andrew Freeman report for Axios.

“In wartime – the historically high refinery profit margins passed directly to American families are not acceptable,” Biden wrote in a letter sent to chief executives. ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP America, Shell, Phillips 66, Marathon and Valero.

In response, the American Petroleum Institute and the American fuel and petrochemical manufacturers wrote to Biden that “US refineries are operating at or near maximum utilization.” Trade groups noted that U.S. refineries are operating at 94% capacity, adding that about half of U.S. refinery shutdowns have resulted from conversions to renewable fuels production.

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ are more dangerous than thought, warns EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that a group of man-made chemicals found in products used daily by millions of Americans pose a greater health risk than previously thought, the Washington Post Dino Grandoni reports.

The chemicals, known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been found in drinking water, cosmetics, kitchen utensils and food packaging and are linked to infertility, thyroid problems and to cancer.

Although the federal government does not regulate PFAS, the EPA advisory is intended to encourage local authorities and utilities to install water filters and take other measures to combat toxic chemicals, which can last for years without breaking down.

The agency is expected to come up with rules for two of the most common PFASs already this fall. And Radhika FoxEPA’s water bureau chief told reporters on a Tuesday call that the agency was considering more drastic measures to crack down on the entire category.

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