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Good evening, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to join you here for the opening of the Ocean Pavilion.

Protecting the ocean is one of my passions.  It’s also fundamental to addressing the climate crisis.

We’re gathered here in Sharm el-Sheikh to keep the 1.5-degree target within reach and avoid the worst of the climate crisis.

The crisis is existential, and there is little time left to avoid setting the world on a dangerous climate trajectory.

As we take action, it is vital that we focus our attention on the largest living space and the largest carbon sink on our planet – our ocean.

The ocean plays a key role in our Earth’s climate.

It distributes heat around our planet. It influences global weather patterns. And it plays a significant role in the carbon cycle.

Climate impacts on the ocean are already here.

As emissions rise, so too does the ocean, also becoming warmer, more acidic, and less productive.

But the ocean is also resilient.  And it can help us tackle climate challenges if we only take advantage of its many benefits.

The ocean can provide us with renewable, sustainable sources of energy.

Its ecosystems store carbon and protect coastal communities from storms and flooding.

Decarbonizing ocean-based industries can contribute significantly to the emissions reductions we need to see.

And ocean-based climate solutions offer important co-benefits, like biodiversity recovery and increasing food security for local communities. They help us address the twin crises of climate change and nature loss.

This is the first year in which there is a dedicated Ocean Pavilion in the Blue Zone at COP. (What took so long?!)

This is an important opportunity to highlight the integral role of the ocean in Earth’s climate system.

Over the next two weeks, this pavilion will highlight the work already happening to understand the ocean-climate nexus, to protect and conserve ocean resources, and to harness the ocean as a source of vital climate solutions.

The United States will participate in many events at this pavilion and elsewhere to showcase our efforts to advance ocean-based climate solutions and build ocean and coastal resilience.

Though we call it Earth, we live on an ocean planet.  For the sake of our communities, our ecosystems, and our future, we must protect it.

U.S. Department of State

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