Our Strategy

The biggest threat to the ocean is the enormous quantity of excess greenhouse gases built up in our atmosphere. This drives two dangerous changes:


Carbon dioxide traps excess solar energy, 90% of which is absorbed into the ocean


Carbon dioxide pollution is directly absorbed into the upper layer of the ocean

Scuba diver above sea floor

These thermal and chemical stresses outweigh in impact and risk everything else that we are doing to the ocean. These stresses are driving deoxygenation, marine heat waves and coral bleaching, increased stratification, and much more.

 Unfortunately, these two stresses will only grow and intensify as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to increase.

Ocean Visions’ four-part agenda focuses on directly addressing the causes and impacts of this climate disruption.


Maximize ocean-based pathways to a low-carbon economy

Maximize Ocean-Based Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy

The ocean offers numerous pathways for decreasing societal emissions of carbon dioxide.

These pathways include, but are not limited to:

  • Ocean-based renewable energy, including offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, and ocean thermal energy conversion
  • Expanded supply of low carbon ocean-based sources of food
  • Production of ocean-based feedstocks for industrial materials and processes
  • Low-carbon shipping

Our Strategy

Ocean Visions is undertaking a landscape scan and analysis to identify high-leverage, underinvested opportunities where we are uniquely positioned to contribute to the advancement of ocean-based pathways that avoid emissions of carbon dioxide. From there we will determine the best opportunities for Ocean Visions to engage.


Develop ocean-based pathways to clean up carbon pollution from the air and ocean

Develop ocean-based pathways to clean up carbon pollution from the air and ocean

In addition to the need for reducing and eventually eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear that large-scale carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is part of every viable scenario to hold temperatures to a 1.5°C increase—the goal set out in the Paris Agreement.

As the largest carbon reservoir on the planet, the ocean holds enormous potential to safely draw down and sequester additional carbon dioxide.

Our Strategy

To chart the way forward to research and develop these technologies, Ocean Visions, with experts from around the globe, developed a series of road maps that assess the developmental stage of various technologies and identify the obstacles and first-order priorities to advance responsible R&D. Our work is now focused on catalyzing broad-based effort against these priorities:

  • Provide actionable and current information through maintenance and further development of our ocean-based CDR road maps.
  • Catalyze action and investment against the biggest priorities by co-designing research agendas, mobilizing resources, and leading on key activities.
  • Provide technical assistance and expert evaluation to innovators and start-ups that have potentially scalable innovations.
  • Create a more favorable enabling environment for accelerated research and development by building enabling policy, governance, and economic frameworks.


Repair and regenerate marine ecosystems to avoid catastrophic loss

Repair and regenerate marine ecosystems to avoid catastrophic loss

Increased ocean temperatures and changing chemistry have triggered a host of consequences for marine ecosystems, from widespread coral reef damage, oxygen-deficient “dead zones”, and—perhaps most seriously—a diminishing cryosphere, which plays a pivotal role in climate regulation.

The best current science on these key tipping points establishes the risk that neither decarbonization nor negative emissions, alone or combined, will cool the planet in time to prevent state shifts in critical ecosystems and functions.

Our Strategy

Given the enormity of the risk, Ocean Visions is researching pathways that may be able to forestall passing tipping points:

  • Ocean Visions has launched an initiative to systematically identify, assess, and evaluate a range of potential approaches targeted at prolonging the function and health of ‘vital organs’ of the ocean-climate system. Our landscape scan and analysis will identify high-leverage, underinvested opportunities to advance new science and engineering, and will serve to inform potential areas of investment for Ocean Visions itself. 
  • Ocean Visions is developing a digital, interactive road map on slowing Arctic sea ice loss. The map will capture the state of various technologies, their potential impacts, knowledge gaps, and identify a set of first-order priorities.


Build a global community to innovate and develop ocean-climate solutions

Build a global community to innovate and develop ocean-climate solutions

Essential to generating and scaling solutions to the ocean-climate crisis is the need to expand the global community of people and institutions working together to develop, test and adapt solutions to different circumstances.

Our Strategy

With two interlocking efforts launched under the framework of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, Ocean Visions is building new platforms to take ocean-based climate solutions work to a much larger stage.

  • The Ocean Visions – UN Decade Collaborative Center for Ocean-Climate Solutions will engage an international set of stakeholders and institutions to further build understanding and agreement around the suite of new solutions that need to be developed, tested and ultimately deployed widely to arrest and reverse the ocean-climate crisis. The Center will function like a think tank and policy center, convening and working with a global set of actors engaged in the UN Decade to create joint and aligned efforts to better design and advance ocean-climate innovation agendas globally.
  • In tight partnership with the Center, the Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS), a program also endorsed by the UN Ocean Decade, will help build the operational networks and human ‘ecosystems’ to connect the necessary disciplines and sectors needed to generate new science and engineering, develop and test innovations and solutions, and create the conditions needed to deploy those that work.