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Climate Oceans

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Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, is chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The world’s oceans have until recently been an overlooked piece of the climate policy puzzle — a serious omission, since oceans cover more than 70 percent of earth’s surface and absorb approximately a quarter of humanity’s annual carbon dioxide emissions. Steps as simple as switching to cleaner shipping fuel would have tremendous climate benefits, but the impetus to take them has been lacking.

On June 8, I introduced the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act to put marine health and ocean management front and center in our climate policy efforts. The bill, which runs nearly 300 pages, is Congress’s first comprehensive legislative package of ocean climate policies.

One of its main goals is protecting and restoring “blue carbon” resources like seagrasses, marshes, mangroves, and coastal forests. Although they don’t cover as much area as terrestrial forests, scientists estimate they absorb 10 times as much carbon. We should invest more in their health and proliferation as soon as possible.

These ecos... Read more

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