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Good morning, everyone, and thank you for having me.  My name is Maxine Burkett, and I am the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Fisheries, and Polar Affairs.

I am honored to be back at an international ocean conference to speak about ocean acidification, which is one of the most important issues within my portfolio.

And I am thrilled to be here at an OA Alliance event for the first time representing the United States as an OA Alliance member!

The climate crisis is impacting our ocean in so many ways.

Ocean acidification is just one of the challenges marine ecosystems are facing, but its effects touch so many different parts of the marine environment and marine ecosystems.

As carbon dioxide levels rise, ocean acidification is affecting species and entire food webs that are critical to our economies and to the overall health of the ocean.

The United States has been a progressive global leader in the effort to combat ocean acidification, and we are fortunate to have NOAA Administrator Spinrad here to highlight for you all the critical contributions NOAA is making to address the effects of ocean acidification.

In 2009, we were the first country in the world to pass a national ocean acidification law that outlines a commitment to long term ocean acidification monitoring and research.

And today, we continue to lead the world on ocean acidification research, vulnerability assessments, modeling, technology development, scientific capacity building, and adaptation responses, with our colleagues at NOAA leading the way on so many fronts.

At the international level, the United States is engaged with partners and organizations that are advancing critical work to understand and mitigate ocean acidification.

Since 2012, the United States has donated over $5 million to the IAEA Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre through the Peaceful Uses Initiative to work with partners across the globe to advance ocean acidification science and international collaboration.

We applaud the IAEA’s efforts to establish a responsive international research community to monitor and evaluate environmental effects in the ocean through the peaceful use of nuclear science and technologies.

The State Department has also been a strong supporter of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, facilitating efforts around the world to increase capacity for ocean acidification research.

And, at the seventh Our Ocean Conference in Palau last year, we continued this commitment to capacity building with an announcement of $1 Million for capacity development in the Pacific Islands to increase efforts to monitor ocean acidification.

Monitoring and research are critical to understanding the harm that increases in acidification are having in our ocean.

That said, the most important action we can take to slow ocean acidification is reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States is committed to tackling the climate crisis through advancing nature-based solutions, growing renewable energy, and decarbonizing emitters like the shipping sector.

Much of the work we undertake and continue to champion will be on display over the next few days here in Panama.  We are proud of what we have accomplished, and we have further to go.

Addressing ocean acidification is a problem that will take all of us to solve. The United States stands ready to continue to work with our partners around the world to advance the science and solutions we need to protect and conserve marine communities.

Thank you again, Jessie, for the invitation to speak here today, and thank you to our many partners in this room for your efforts toward our shared purpose.

U.S. Department of State

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