Skip to content

Policy Impact

Outreach & Impact

Informing Policy

The Center aims to enhance the real-world impact of research by supporting efforts to translate scientific results into evidence that domestic and international leaders can use in shaping future ocean and climate policies. To this end, the Center has provided support for a number of public and policy engagement activities to date, as outlined below.

Kilaparti (Rama) Ramakrishna
In October 2021, the Center supported the recruitment and hire of Kilaparti (Rama) Ramakrishna as Senior Advisor to the President and Director, focusing on ocean and climate policy. Ramakrishna is a world-renowned expert on ocean and climate diplomacy and international engagement, having served in directorship, senior advisor, and other leadership positions at the Green Climate Fund, UN Environment Program, and the Woodwell Climate Research Center. In his new capacity at WHOI, Ramakrishna is charged with positioning the Institution as a lead contributor and scientific voice for ocean-based climate solutions, and to elevate the role of the oceans in climate action across strategically-selected international conferences leading up to the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November 2022.

A group of the world’s leading ocean science and philanthropic organizations, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, have come together to highlight the global ocean at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The Ocean Pavilion in the conference’s official meeting area will highlight the crucial importance of the ocean to Earth’s climate and efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change in the safest, most effective ways science offers. It will also be the first time the ocean has been the singular focus of a pavilion inside the central “Blue Zone” at any COP, and the first time a pavilion has been organized principally by a group of research institutions. The Ocean Pavilion will serve as a central hub for conference delegates to exchange ideas about how to address climate change by leveraging the ocean.

Ocean Climate and Carbon Dynamics
The Center also supported the participation of Ken Buesseler, one of WHOI’s leading experts in ocean climate and carbon dynamics, at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in the summer of 2022. During discussions around the challenges and opportunities facing the ocean and humanity, the WHOI delegation conveyed a critical message—that the ocean offers hope in the face of the looming climate crisis, and that science must play a central role in decision-making in order to safeguard the natural systems that help make our planet habitable.

New York City Climate Week
Additional support was provided for WHOI’s participation in a high-profile New York City Climate Week event that featured a 550-foot projection of an ocean twilight zone creature (a siphonophore) on the side of the UN Secretariat building. This press-friendly science and art installation–produced in collaboration with the Avatar Alliance Foundation, TBA21, and others–was designed to raise awareness among policymakers and the general public of the role of mid-ocean biology in capturing and moving carbon from the atmosphere to the deep ocean, where it can remain sequestered for centuries to millennia. WHOI scientists have recently demonstrated that these biological processes are responsible for capturing at least two times–and perhaps as much as six times– more carbon from the atmosphere than is emitted by all the world’s automobiles on an annual basis.

Illuminating the Abyss
Funds from the Center also supported the production of a companion online event, titled “Illuminating the Abyss,” during Climate Week 2021. More than 5,000 people registered to attend the live event, with many more tuning in to the recorded coverage after the fact. The event featured an in-depth discussion with WHOI President and Director Peter de Menocal, filmmaker and ocean explorer James Cameron, and hedge fund manager and ocean advocate Ray Dalio.

Sign up to stay connected and receive the WHOI newsletter!

Sign up to stay connected and receive the WHOI newsletter!