In 2020, the Port of Seattle (Port) became the first port in the world to join the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance). In doing so, the Port formally recognized the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the maritime industry and marine environment and committed to addressing OA through the creation of an Ocean Acidification Action Plan. The plan serves as a framework that highlights the Port’s current initiatives to combat OA and recommends next steps. The existing initiatives unify efforts across the Port’s Aviation and Maritime sectors as both work to meet ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions goals while enhancing coastal resilience and building adaptation capacity.
The Port works to ameliorate OA through habitat, stormwater, and clean air and energy initiatives. The Maritime Climate and Air Action Plan describes the Port’s plan to reduce GHG emissions to 50% of baseline by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. The Smith Cove Blue Carbon initiative will increase scientific understanding of the role kelp and eelgrass play on carbon sequestration, offering a pathway for localized OA mitigation via habitat restoration. A new partnership with the Seattle Aquarium will broaden understanding of urban kelp and OA. As part of the Sustainable Airport Master Plan, SEA Airport became the first airport in the country to purchase thermal renewable natural gas, a low-carbon natural gas alternative that replaces the use of fossil fuels in heating the airport and powering the Port’s bus fleet.
By creating an OA Action Plan, the Port has charted a path forward to increase focus on OA while providing a blueprint for ports to do the same. This effort has generated a number of OA focused initiatives and partnerships that are aligned with Port goals as well as UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15.