Opening the next steps panel of Our Ocean Conference: Remarks by John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State (excerpts)

(…) Over the past day and a half, some of the world’s very best and most knowledgeable scientists and most influential leaders in both the public and private sectors have been here telling us about inspiring efforts that are underway to address various challenges of our ocean, and importantly not just defining the challenges but laying out the solutions, the things we know we can do. (…) It’s really a question of, “How do we find the political will? How do we get people to move – to sometimes move back very vested, powerful interests that like the status quo because change means reinvesting or changing the way you do business, even though in the long run it will save everybody a lot of money and a lot of grief?”

(…) Yesterday I underscored the importance of research and science and getting the ocean policy right. That is especially true with respect to acidification. We need to know exactly where something is happening, what is happening, how fast it’s happening before we can actually make a decision about how to slow it down or what to do.

Now obviously more research is going to require more support. That’s why yesterday I announced $640,000 in a grant from the U.S. Government to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Coordination Center on Acidification in Monaco. That money is part of nearly 2 million that the U.S. Department of State and Energy together will be contributing in order to support the IAEA’s ocean and marine projects.

On top of that, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, will be contributing more than $9 million over the next three years to the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, so it can better monitor acidification around the world. And these investments will directly improve our understanding of the ocean, which in turn will improve our ability to be able to protect it.

Now that is a return on investment, and I can certainly imagine that all of you would support that kind of basic return on investment. I hope others around the world will contribute in a similar manner. Now that’s just some of what we’re planning to do here in the United States. But as President Obama made clear this morning, we’re really just getting started. I’ve been in this job now for a little over a year. It took us a period of time to plan this, but I hope we build some momentum out of here, and we will have more to announce, I promise you, in the near future.

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