PINE KNOLL SHORES — The N.C. Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores and its partners across the U.S. have completed a greenhouse gas inventory as part of a pledge to work towards climate neutrality.  

The state aquarium system staff issued an announcement Wednesday, April 27 that it and the other 23 members of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership, a national partnership dedicated to pursuing climate neutrality, have completed their first step in achieving their long-term goal. According to the announcement, the aquariums intend to “leverage their outstanding legacy of leadership in conservation, science, communication and education to realize climate solutions.” 

As part of this pledge, the aquariums are committing to the following actions:

  • Completing an initial greenhouse gas inventory within one year of signing the commitment. 

  • Measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions annually. 

  • Developing an emissions reduction plan within two years of signing the commitment. 

  • Identifying and implementing strategies to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from operations.

  • Leveraging operational commitments to advocate for international, federal and state climate change policies. 

  • Communicating the journey to achieve net-zero emissions.

N.C. Aquariums Division Director Maylon White said in the announcement the N.C. Aquariums have completed step one and are now focusing their efforts on steps two and three. 

“We’re working with the Verdis group to develop an emissions reduction plan,” Mr. White said. “We gathered information earlier this year from our aquarium teams through a sustainability survey. These data and our initial greenhouse gas inventory will be instrumental in developing our emissions reduction plan.”  

According to the aquarium system staff’s announcement, climate change is the greatest threat to the future of the planet, its oceans, freshwater systems and people. 

“For decades, the global ocean has been taking the heat for climate change, absorbing more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly a third of the carbon dioxide generated by greenhouse gas emissions,” it was noted in the announcement. “The result is an ocean that is warmer, more acidic, starved of oxygen and less habitable for fish and marine wildlife.” 

The system staff went on to say, “The time for taking action is now.” 

“According to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, while the rate of emissions growth has slowed, in 2010-2019, average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history,” it was stated in the annoucement. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit) is beyond reach.” 

ACP Executive Director Kim McIntyre said that as leaders in conservation, aquariums are expected to “walk their talk.” 

“That’s exactly what this partnership is meant to do,” Ms. McIntyre said. “We are uniquely qualified to set an example for others — in reducing our carbon footprint, encouraging sustainable operating practices and inspiring hope in a public that is hungry to be part of the solution.” 

Annually, the 24 ACP aquariums welcome more than 30 million visitors and contribute more than $22.5 billion to the U.S. economy. These facilities run more than 200 unique research conservation programs to understand the natural world and help develop solutions to environmental challenges, including climate change. The aquariums’ ongoing commitment to expanding sustainable practices has already collectively eliminated more than 1 million single-use plastic bottles from landfills since 2018. 

The state aquarium system staff said participating in this climate commitment places the N.C. Aquariums “among the growing number of businesses and organizations demonstrating both an understanding of the climate crisis and a desire to be a part of the solution."

(1) comment

David Collins

Does anybody of sound mind really buy into this garbage ? The aquarium system is not only broke but woke as well and they take it so seriously with all the right ominous references to the end of days . Just collect your fish farts and clean the tanks . Accomplish this with minimal drama and life will be good .

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