From Green to Blue, Warren Unveils New Deal for Ocean Health

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gestures as she speaks during a campaign stop, on Nov. 23, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

(CN) — She already co-sponsored the Green New Deal, but Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren took a new hue Tuesday with her plan to help protect and restore the world’s oceans while harnessing their power for energy, food and jobs. 

“As we pursue climate justice, we must not lose sight of the [fact that] 71% of our planet covered by the ocean,” Warren wrote Tuesday. “While the ocean is severely threatened, it can also be a major part of the climate solution – from providing new sources of clean energy to supporting a new future of ocean farming. That is why I believe that a Blue New Deal must be an essential part of any Green New Deal.”

Warren noted that oceans contribute $304 billion to the U.S. GDP, and harnessing the power of offshore wind alone could support 36,000 jobs. 

“It’s time to restore our oceans and harness the potential of the Blue Economy,” Warren wrote. She promised to end offshore drilling, fast-track offshore energy projects, and include community benefit agreements, which she said would ensure everyone benefits from a transition to renewable energy.

The ocean has absorbed 93% of the heat caused by greenhouse gases, which warms the waters, raises the sea level and kills off life, Warren wrote. The world is polluting, overfishing and rapidly losing its coastlines.

A Blue New Deal would help fisheries to restock America’s fish supply and support community-based markets, cutting down on the international shipping of fish for processing, Warren added. And when items do have to be shipped on water, ports should be electric and include speed reduction zones to reduce emissions. 

She would also support ocean farming of algae and seaweed, which she called “the trees of our oceans,” and fund initiatives to restore marine ecosystems. She’d create policy to help reduce single-use plastics and other ocean trash, close loopholes that allow for pollution by big agribusiness companies, and make policy to mitigate ocean-related natural disasters. 

A Warren administration would also team up with countries around the world to collectively govern international waters, she said. 

“Starting on day one of my presidency, I will take bold action to fight climate change,” Warren wrote. “And that includes harnessing the power of our oceans to be a key part of our solution to the climate crisis. … “Our oceans can underpin a sustainable food system, be a source of renewable energy and defend against the worst of climate change. The future of our planet depends on a healthy ocean, and we have no more time to waste.”

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