Excerpt from the Presentation of the U.S. Chairmanship Program at the Arctic Council Ministerial

US Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned ocean acidification and the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON; http://www.goa-on.org) at the  Arctic Council Ministerial, Iqaluit, Canada, 24 April 2015.

Excerpt from remarks:

And one of the things we focused on in Washington is ocean acidification. Carbon dioxide does not just drive climate change. It also gets absorbed by the ocean, although we saw the first regurgitation by the ocean of CO2 in the Antarctic this past year, so we don’t know what the limits of that absorption are, which is another challenge for all of us on Earth. But to the degree that it does get absorbed by the ocean, it winds up threatening marine ecosystems on which we all depend. And the cold temperatures of the Arctic Ocean make it particularly vulnerable to acidification, science tells us. And the science is actually jarring on this. If current trends continue, scientists predict that by the end of the century, the Arctic waters will become corrosive to all shell-building creatures. So think about that – what that would mean to the entire Arctic food chain in addition to the people whose livelihoods depend on those creatures.

Despite all of this, incomprehensibly, ocean acidification is often an overlooked impact of climate change. A lot of people don’t even focus on it. For one thing, we actually don’t even know enough about it, especially in the Arctic. So during our chairmanship, we’re going to call on every Arctic and observer state to join the Global Ocean Acidification Observer Network to facilitate greater monitoring of Arctic waters. And here as well, the more information we have about what’s happening, the better we will be able to address it.


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