Taking Climate Action for the Ocean
Climate change and ocean acidification are profoundly affecting ocean health and wildlife — and our own survival. Rising sea levels and intensifying storm events put coastal communities at increasing risk. Warmer, more acidic waters disrupt animal life cycles and the broader marine food web.
Fortunately, the ocean is resilient and can recover if we take immediate action.
"Acting together with courage, we can protect our beautiful, blue living planet."
The Aquarium is a part of an ambitious global climate movement. While the United Nations climate negotiations were taking place in December, Executive Director Julie Packard called on Americans to take action.
"Major scientific reports all confirm that extreme weather events are getting worse as a result of man-made carbon pollution," Julie said in a video posted to social media. "But acting together with courage, we can protect our beautiful, blue living planet."
Putting the ocean on the global climate change agenda
We helped put the ocean front and center during an international climate gathering here in California.
The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, co-hosted by Gov. Jerry Brown, brought together investors, citizens, businesses and civic leaders from around the world to double down on their commitment to the Paris Agreement, the 2015 international climate change treaty. At first, the ocean-climate connection wasn't on the summit agenda — a glaring omission, given that the ocean is the heart of Earth's climate system.
Thanks to a push by the Aquarium team, along with our state and nonprofit partners, summit leaders added ocean health as a major theme. We also helped lead the development of a new "Ocean Climate Action Agenda" unveiled at the summit, a roadmap for ocean-centered climate action.
Julie delivered opening remarks at the summit's ocean plenary, followed by former Secretary of State John Kerry, who praised the Aquarium's leadership on ocean conservation. In a separate event during the summit, Julie and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff urged high-profile business and civic leaders to lead the way toward a clean-energy future.
The Aquarium team helped ensure the ocean was on the agenda at the Global Climate Action Summit.
California Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia (left) and Mark Stone (right) accept the Aquarium's 2018 California Ocean Champion Award.
Cultivating ocean-climate leaders
We work to inspire and cultivate climate leaders in California and beyond. In 2018, we organized high-profile events to honor today's climate champions and encourage others to step up.
At our annual reception at Ocean Day California in Sacramento, we presented our 2018 California Ocean Champion Awards to Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey). Garcia authored successful legislation to extend the state's cap-and-trade program, keeping California on track to meet its ambitious 2030 climate goals. We honored Stone for his sustained commitment to protect Monterey Bay and act for ocean conservation throughout the state.
Powering up for clean energy
The most important way to combat climate change, and reduce its harmful effects on the ocean, is to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. That's why we work to cut carbon, starting right here at home.
In 2017, we supported the creation of Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) to bring renewable energy to our region at a faster pace. Through the state's Community Choice Energy model, MBCP provides locally controlled, carbon-free electricity to residents and businesses in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, and to the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.
Last March, the Aquarium's electricity went carbon-free when MBCP began powering businesses in the region. Then we aimed even higher and championed creation of a new premium service: MB Prime, which sources electricity exclusively from wind and solar sources — avoiding the environmental impacts of hydroelectric energy. We became the first commercial customer to enroll.
We made a public commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and transition 100 percent of our vehicle fleet to renewable power by 2025.
In September, we made a public commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and transition 100 percent of our vehicle fleet to renewable power by 2025. Chief Conservation Officer Margaret Spring announced the commitment, along with our other emission reduction activities, during a forum at the Global Climate Action Summit, hosted by the We Are Still In coalition.
We Are Still In represents more than 3,500 organizations globally, across public and private sectors, that have declared their support for the Paris Agreement. The Aquarium was one of the first cultural institutions to sign on, joining the international community in reducing our emissions for a sustainable, low-carbon future.