The week of September 10, people from around the world are gathering in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. Convened by the State of California, the Summit brings together leaders—representing nations, states, cities, companies, investors and citizens—to celebrate climate action, and step up their ambitions to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement. As part of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s climate commitment, we’re moving to green our own business operations. Here’s how:
Monterey Bay Aquarium has announced a new set of climate commitments: By 2025, we will achieve net-zero carbon emissions and will transition 100 percent of our vehicle fleet to renewable power.
“We know that climate change is the single greatest threat to ocean health, and to all humankind,” said Margaret Spring, chief conservation officer and vice president of conservation & science for the Aquarium.
Margaret made the announcement on the stage of the “We Mean Business Action” platform hosted by We Are Still In in San Francisco during the Global Climate Action Summit.
We Are Still In is a coalition of more than 3,500 U.S. businesses, cities, universities, cultural institutions, health care organizations, faith groups, states and tribes that committed to climate action in keeping with the 2015 Paris Agreement, after the federal government announced plans to withdraw from the historic global climate accord.
The Aquarium’s emissions reduction efforts support the Paris Agreement, and align with SB 100, signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 10, mandating that all of the state’s electricity come from renewable and zero-carbon sources such as wind and solar by 2045.
Raising awareness and taking action
As a one of the first cultural institutions to sign the We Are Still In pledge, the Aquarium continues to lead the charge in advocating for public policies addressing climate change and ocean acidification. We strive to inspire our 2 million annual guests and 3 million social media followers to take action on climate, coupling science-based climate information with community-level solutions. We also conduct scientific research on the ocean impacts of climate change, on our own and in collaboration with our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Over the past several years, the Aquarium has steadily reduced carbon emissions from our operations by employing energy efficiency measures, and by encouraging employees to use low-carbon transportation. Employee incentives include free bus passes, interest-free loans to purchase commuter bicycles, and easy access to electric-vehicle charging stations.
We are also pursuing U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification, which includes integrated design elements to reduce emissions, for our new 25,000-square-foot Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership.
Powered by carbon-free energy
Earlier this year, the Aquarium’s electricity went “carbon free” when we became the first business in the Monterey Bay region to enroll in a new service option drawing only from wind and solar power. The service, MBPrime, is offered through Monterey Bay Community Power, a community choice energy provider serving Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.
In 2017, the Aquarium was certified as a carbon-neutral organization when we offset our estimated carbon emissions with high-quality carbon credits from two REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degredation) projects: Rimba Raya REDD+ in Indonesia and the Valdivian Coastal Reserve REDD in Chile. Both meet the requirements of the Carbon Neutral Protocol.
By expanding on our existing climate commitments, the Aquarium is contributing to California’s leadership on climate.
“We will continue to support California in advocating for meaningful climate action through government policies,” Margaret said. “Through these efforts, the Aquarium is acting with the urgency that the climate crisis demands.”
—Claudia Pineda Tibbs