US Pacific territories, ‘America the Beautiful’ Initiative can deliver ocean climate solutions

Posted on Nov 30 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C—The U.S. Pacific territories are vast. Combined, their ocean areas are nearly twice the size of Alaska and they are home to some of the world’s largest marine protected areas.

A new column co-authored by Angelo Villagomez from the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. argues that the region will be critical for achieving the Biden administration’s goals to combat climate change, protect 30% of lands and waters by 2030, and ensure access to nature for all Americans.

These tropical ocean waters have some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the United States. Yet many of these species and habitats are sensitive to the extreme threats wrought by climate change, from rising sea levels to warmer and more acidic waters.

The U.S. Pacific territories can help the United States reach its conservation goals, but only if this work is done with indigenous peoples and knowledge leading the way. The column urges the Biden administration to strengthen its relationship with these territories in the following ways:

Prioritize the U.S. Pacific territories with jobs, programs, and funding;

Move management decision-making power out of Hawaii and back to the territories;

Engage with territorial governments to determine the unique needs their citizens have when it comes to ocean conservation.

The column is titled “US Pacific Territories and the America the Beautiful Initiative Can Deliver Ocean Climate Solutions,” and is written by Angelo Villagomez, Anuka Upadhye, and Zainab Mirza. (PR)

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