At the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) in 2015, the Paris Agreement achieved the first global commitment by countries to address the threat of climate change. Over the past two weeks, government officials, indigenous peoples, representatives from civil society, and media convened in Madrid, Spain, for the 25th COP (COP25), which highlighted—for the first time—the role of our ocean in combatting climate change and the need for more comprehensive ocean-climate action. Over the weekend, talks broke down and delegates fell short of taking decisive steps to safeguard our planet.

The New England Aquarium joins all those working to protect the planet who are disappointed by global leaders’ lack of strong resolve and agreement to prevent further warming of the Earth. Global governments are ignoring clear scientific evidence that decisive action is required now to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and are misaligned with the demands of an increasingly vocal global citizenship, led in part by youth activists.

At the same time, the New England Aquarium recognizes the leadership of participating countries to integrate the ocean into the formal UNFCCC process and acknowledge the ocean’s central role in Earth’s climate system. The formal process agreed to by parties is a critical and much-needed first step in ensuring that ocean-based solutions are embedded in future climate mitigation and adaptation measures.

Despite COP25’s discouraging outcome, the New England Aquarium is a proud signatory of the “We Are Still In” Declaration. We stand in solidarity with more than 3,800 American governors, mayors, county executives, and tribal leaders, as well as colleges and universities, businesses, faith groups, cultural institutions, and health care organizations who support climate action to meet the targets established by the Paris Agreement.

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The Aquarium is doing our part by reducing our electricity consumption, offsetting our energy usage annually with renewable energy credits, increasing efficiency, and eliminating single-use plastics from our operations.

We inform and inspire others to join us in protecting the blue planet. Our animal care, visitor experience, and advocacy teams help Aquarium visitors understand the relationship between humans and our ocean and encourage them to become engaged ocean advocates. Scientists in our Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life seek practical, science-based solutions to conserve ocean ecosystems and protect species. Additionally, as home to the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation, we train communities around the country to have hopeful and solutions-focused climate conversations to increase understanding and civic action.  

There is only one ocean. We are protecting it. We are still in.