Lautenberg teams with actress to protect oceans

Acidity in the world’s oceans will double by the end of the 21st Century if the world continues burning fossil fuels, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, R-N.J., and actress Sigourney Weaver said at a press conference in Washington Tuesday.

Lautenberg and Weaver, who is also an environmental activist, joined scientists with the Natural Resources Defense Council to urge Congress to protect oceans from carbonic acid that forms when carbon dioxide in the air mixes with water. The process threatens marine life, particularly shellfish and coral reefs.

“There has been a dramatic explosion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is making our oceans more acidic,” Lautenberg said. “And this poses extreme danger to our marine life.”

NRDC President Frances Beinecke said “the web of sea life is disintegrating” as a result of acidification.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed legislation drafted by Lautenberg to focus on ocean acidity. Lautenberg will join Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California on Wednesday in introducing clean-energy legislation that will include new proposals to protect oceans from acidification.

“We want Congress to pay attention,” Weaver said. “We all depend on the ocean for survival. We can’t prosper unless the ocean prospers too.”

Tuesday’s press conference was followed by a screening of an NRDC documentary, “Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification,” narrated by Weaver.

Ayesha Aleem, Gannett Washington bureau,, 29 September 2009. Article.

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