Last week (22 April 2010) during a hearing (The Environmental and Economic Impacts of Ocean Acidification) hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Senators from both sides of the political spectrum voiced concerns about the impact of acidifying oceans on fisheries, tourism and ecosystem health.
Ocean acidification, like climate change, is driven by excessive, human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The oceans absorb about 30% of this CO2. With the increase in CO2 levels, ocean pH is declining, creating a more acidic ocean. The ramifications are immense for marine life as well as the human activities that depend on it.
Both Senator Cantwell (D) of Washington and Senator Snowe (R) of Maine represent constituents whose livelihoods depend on a healthy ocean. Senator Snowe stated that ocean acidification is “perhaps the greatest threat facing our planet’s oceans. If current trends of ocean acidification continue, vast areas of the sea could very well become inhospitable to many species which form the foundation of the marine food web…[and] we cannot risk placing them in jeopardy.”
Testimony included a wide range of interests from the fishing and marine recreational industry to scientists and Hollywood.
Lynn Englum, WWF Climate Blog, 30 April 2010. Full article.