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President Biden’s First 100 Days

In 100 days, some pretty incredible things can happen in our ocean. Some Emperor Penguins will go without eating for up to 100 days while they keep their eggs warm and safe. In 100 days while feeding, a blue whale can eat up to 800,000 pounds of krill.

Today marks a different kind of 100-day milestone: President Biden’s 100th day in office. When it comes to achievements in 100 days, the ocean puts up some stiff competition. So, what about this administration? Here are seven accomplishments the Biden administration achieved for our ocean in its first 100 days.

1. NOAA Budget Proposal

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the premier agency to understand and take action on climate change, as well as supporting our sustainable blue economy and managing our ocean resources. With our ocean and coastal communities being on the frontline of the impacts of climate change like sea-level rise and increased extreme weather events, NOAA must have the necessary resources to understand these changes and provide local communities with the tools and expertise to take action to mitigate or avoid these changes. The Biden budget framework does just that by proposing historic funding levels to an agency that has been chronically underfunded.

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2. Paris Climate Agreement and Committing to Emissions Reductions

On day 1 of the Biden administration, the United States rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to reducing our emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Specifically, the Biden administration highlighted the important role the ocean has to provide climate solutions, including the decarbonization of the shipping industry, scaling up renewable energy such as offshore wind, and protecting and utilizing natural climate solutions like wetlands, marshes, mangroves and more.

3. Executive Action on Climate Change and Scientific Integrity

It took just about a week for the Biden administration to show the United States is serious when it comes to taking action on climate change. On January 27, 2021, the Biden administration released an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. This Executive Order put an emphasis on increasing renewable energy, protecting our most wild places, collecting information on how fishing communities are adapting to shifting fish stocks as a result of increased stressors in the ocean and understanding the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable communities. On the same day, the President also released a Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity, ensuring that our agencies, including NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency, are making decisions based on science—not politics.

4. Offshore Oil and Gas Pause

We’ve seen time and time again that offshore oil and gas drilling is a risky endeavor. In 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, taking the lives of 11 oil rig workers and spilling an estimated 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground, spilling roughly 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. While these are just some of the devastating results of offshore oil and gas drilling, there have been countless other incidents that have damaged coastal communities and our ocean. We’re encouraged that the Biden administration released plans to review our offshore oil and gas program to improve the stewardship of our waters and promote a just and equitable transition to renewable energy.

5. Offshore Wind

To transition away from climate change-causing greenhouse gas emitting forms of energy, we will have to make significant investments and shifts towards a variety of other renewable forms of energy, including offshore wind. To put the United States on a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the impacts of climate change, the Biden administration set the ambitious goal of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030 while protecting the marine environment and balancing other ocean uses. To meet this goal, the administration released plans to direct funding towards the science to understand the impacts of offshore wind, created key agreements with offshore wind companies to share data, and allocated funds for research and development into offshore wind technologies that will reduce impacts on the environment.

6. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

In late March 2021, the administration released the American Jobs Plan, which includes more than $2 trillion in proposed investments to improve our nation’s infrastructure and spur economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The President’s proposal includes significant investments in our ocean and coastal communities, including plans for coastal restoration and investments in zero-emission shipping and port infrastructure.

7. Government Leaders

As with any new administration, the people who you surround yourself with, the people that you choose to run agencies like NOAA, are crucially important in how these agencies function. Everything from the big picture priorities of an agency to the day-to-day operations is the responsibility of appointed agency personnel. The Biden administration has selected some great individuals to lead our government to tackle the challenges our ocean faces today and implement solutions. From Secretary Haaland leading the Department of the Interior to Secretary Raimondo heading up the Secretary of Commerce and the recent nomination of Dr. Spinrad to lead NOAA, we know our agencies are in good hands.

The first 100 days of any administration can speak volumes about their priorities. We’re glad to see that climate change, environmental justice and our ocean are high on the list for the Biden administration and we look forward to more actions to come.

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The post President Biden’s First 100 Days appeared first on Ocean Conservancy.

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