The Ocean Resilience and Climate Alliance (ORCA) is a philanthropic initiative that seeks to identify and fund ocean-climate solutions across mitigation, sequestration, adaptation, and resilience. ORCA’s principal function is to provide a surge of more than $250 million dollars in grants over four years to catalyze work across a handful of immediate ocean-climate priorities. These priorities have been developed in consultation with the ocean and climate donor communities, and were honed in collaboration with potential grantees. A full list of grantee partners will be shared in early 2024 when the appropriate permissions are secured, and once the initial grants have been issued.View Press Release
We have long known that the marine environment and coastal communities are at profound risk from climate change. Ocean acidification and deoxygenation, rising seas, shifting stocks, superstorms, empty nets—climate change will have enormous effects on ocean health, and it threatens a future mass extinction event. These effects have already begun, and they are accelerating. Simultaneously, the well-being of 1.4 billion people in low elevation regions, whose livelihoods often depend on the ocean, is in jeopardy.
Recent analysis shows that ocean-based climate interventions could represent nearly half of the carbon solutions needed to keep warming below 2°C, if scaled to their fullest potential. Efforts across ocean energy, coastal habitat restoration, shipping, and carbon dioxide removal will be components of this decade’s fight against climate change but have not been prioritized to date. In tandem, conservation professionals have begun exploring how we can strengthen and adapt traditional conservation priorities to be more durable in the face of climate change, improving the resilience of marine ecosystems and protecting those coastal communities most at risk.
The ocean and climate are both underfunded areas; the nexus between them is even more overlooked. Climate funding received just two percent of total philanthropic giving in 2020, and ocean conservation received less than one percent. Funding at the intersection of ocean and climate amounted, in aggregate, to less than one one-hundredth of one percent of total philanthropic giving. The ocean funding community has not seriously prioritized climate interventions until recently (outside of resilience), and climate funders have not invested in ocean-based solutions at scale, leaving this field undeveloped. Funding has crept up in the last three years, but most of that growth has been incremental, due to both resource constraints and capacity constraints in the field. Insufficient scale is the defining barrier across all ocean-climate work today.
Together, we propose cultivating and funding a portfolio of the most important ocean-climate interventions that can be scaled today. To reduce carbon emissions, we can promote ocean-based renewables, decarbonize the global shipping sector, and fight the expansion of offshore oil and gas. To draw down existing atmospheric carbon, we can protect and restore blue carbon habitats and develop novel ocean carbon dioxide removal technologies. To improve the resilience of ocean ecosystems, we can help safeguard the Arctic and work to achieve 30×30. And to help vulnerable communities adapt, we can build a movement of engaged communities in the Global South with secured tenure rights and united in opposition to fossil fuel expansion.
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