Sigourney Weaver’s expected testimony tomorrow before a Senate Committee will address the threats of ocean acidification on marine life and our economy.
Oceana’s climate and energy campaign director Jacqueline Savitz outlined what we will lose if we fail to act soon to reduce skyrocketing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide: commercial fisheries, coastal tourism and storm protection services offered by coral reefs.
“As summer vacation season approaches, which many American businesses rely on for significant annual income, we should be aware that increasing CO2 emissions and resulting ocean acidification threaten the livelihoods of coastal communities,” said Jackie Savitz, Oceana senior campaign director.
“Given the scientific projections of mass coral extinctions and melting ice caps in this century, we urge the Subcommittee to think about the long-term economic and moral implications of our increasing carbon dioxide emissions. They are driving climate change and ocean acidification.
If we hope to prevent further ocean acidification, we need climate legislation that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by ushering in a new energy economy,” concluded Savitz.
Many of the world’s commercial fisheries are likely to be threatened by ocean acidification. In fact, according to new research conducted by marine biologist Brian Gaylor of the Bodega Marine Laboratory at University of CA at Davis, shellfish reefs such as those of the Olympia oyster in the Pacific have begun to experience stress and slower growth rates from worsening acidification. “Acidification is predicted to be most severe in highly productive regions that support some of the world’s most important commercial fisheries,” added Savitz.
In addition to meaningful climate legislation, Oceana urges the U.S. Senate to introduce and pass a companion to the House resolution on acidification, H. Res. 989, that urges the United States to study and address the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and coastal communities.
We also urge the nation’s policymakers to prioritize clean ocean energy, such as offshore wind, rather than continuing the quest for diminishing offshore oil and gas. Increased reliance on clean energy will reduce carbon dioxide levels and help prevent ocean acidification.
“Ocean acidification is a real problem with real consequences. You just can’t argue with simple chemistry. Today’s hearing highlights economic impacts of acidification and the need for meaningful climate legislation that shifts our focus toward clean energy and away from dirty and diminishing fossil fuels,” said Savitz.
Sigourney Weaver’s testimony, along with a scientist, commercial fisherman and marine business people, will be presented to the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on April 22 (Earth Day). The hearing will explore the economic and environmental impacts of ocean acidification, in Russell Senate Office Bldg., Rm. 253, beginning at 10 a.m.
Dianne Saenz. Oceana, 21 April 2010. Press release.