September 25, 2023

PNNL Hosts Workshop on Ocean Climate Action Plan

PNNL convenes ocean leaders from a wide range of sectors to tackle climate challenges together

PNNL's Christian Meinig points out ongoing ocean science research to visitors at PNNL-Sequim.

Division Director Christian Meinig from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Coastal Sciences Division highlights some of PNNL’s ongoing marine research at the PNNL-Sequim campus to (from left to right) Courtney Grosvenor (Department of Energy, Chief of Staff, Renewable Energy), Beth Hartman (Department of Energy, Water Power Technologies Office, Strategic Innovation and Outreach Program Manager), and Carrie Schmaus (Department of Energy, Water Power Technologies Office, Blue Economy Co-Lead) in advance of the event. 

(Photo by Shanon Dell | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is charting a course on ocean climate action, a key part of mitigating climate change on our blue planet. Along with Washington Maritime Blue, PNNL convened regional research partners; policy makers; federal agencies; state, local, and tribal government partners; industry; and community organizations on September 20, 2023, to discuss opportunities for research partnerships in support of the nation’s new Ocean Climate Action Plan.

“The outcomes outlined in the Ocean Climate Action Plan are bold, but by combining the distinctive expertise and proactive leadership within Washington State and our region, I believe we can play a significant role achieving its ambitious but critical goals,” said PNNL Laboratory Director Steve Ashby.

Released in March 2023, the Ocean Climate Action Plan is the first government blueprint to leverage the power of the ocean to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. The plan merges ocean policy goals with a broader set of pathways to decarbonize the economy and respond to the climate challenge. Fulfilling the vision of the action plan requires new research collaborations and partnerships across federal agencies, academia, industry, tribes, and communities.

Ocean Climate Action in the Pacific Northwest

PNNL researchers Joe Haxel and Tristen Myers deploy scientific equipment in the test beds near the PNNL-Sequim campus.
PNNL researchers Joe Haxel and Tristen Myers deploy scientific equipment in the test beds near the PNNL-Sequim campus, while visitors Jennifer Garson (Department of Energy, Water Power Technologies Office, Director) and Lauren Ruedy (Department of Energy, Water Power Technologies Office, Reducing Barriers to Testing Lead) observe. (Photo by Shanon Dell for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

“The Pacific Northwest region, in particular, has a vested interest in ocean climate action, with a reliance on global maritime transportation, healthy coastal fisheries, and resilient coastal communities,” said TJ Heibel, who is PNNL’s Renewable Power program manager. “PNNL’s strong research connections in the region and its expertise and capabilities as the Department of Energy’s only marine research laboratory, make it uniquely placed to help drive new research collaborations and support the Ocean Climate Action Plan.”

To this end, PNNL and partners across the Pacific Northwest—including Washington Maritime Blue, Oregon State University, University of Washington, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory—have been working together to define a collaborative research agenda and identify test beds supporting ocean technology, energy innovation, and ocean-based climate solutions. The workshop builds on this momentum by gathering key leaders in ocean science, policy, and industry in the same room to identify new research and industry partnership opportunities in the region.

Tackling climate challenges from an ocean perspective is a massive endeavor that will require all hands on deck—that’s what we’re working to accomplish here,” said Heibel.

A post-event summary will be made available.