With environmental change, Monaco has it easier

An American president must envy monarchs like His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The prince, who will be in San Diego Oct. 23 to accept the Roger Revelle Prize at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, can afford to focus on real problems. He was a major patron, for instance, of last year’s Monaco Declaration, a statement signed by several of the world’s leading scientists that detailed the very real threat to the world’s oceans being caused by excessive uptake of carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide converts to an acid in the oceans and the lowered pH is enough to disrupt the growth of a wide variety of marine organisms, including ones we rely on as food and ones that support the rest of the food web.

A toxified ocean? Now that’s a problem. But for all his (or someday, her) power, an American president can’t just observe the obvious and take action the way a monarch can or even the leader of, say, China can. Prince Albert is keeping with his family’s tradition of ocean stewardship and devoting substantial resources to ocean research and protection. (One of the more prestigious awards in ocean science is named for Albert’s great-great grandfather Prince Albert I.)

Because he is thoughtful, he has forged a relationship with Scripps Oceanography even though Scripps is a continent away and does virtually no oceanographic research in Monaco’s tiny stretch of territorial waters.

But at Scripps, we like to think the prince is the kind of person willing to go to the best sources of research and answers and, thus, has come to us. During his visit, we hope to further solidify our alliance with the signing of a memorandum of understanding that could lead to his further support of research into ocean acidification and a host of other challenges being presented by climate change.

Robert Monroe, San Diego Source, 1 October 2009. Full article.

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