Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Congress considers climate change impacts on oceans

Will our oceans get hammered by climate change? Is it true that corals are already being harmed by climate change? The US Congress wants to know, and decided to ask a panel of experts in a hearing today.

The answers? Climate change is already harming oceans, and corals are the canaries in the coal mine, showing impacts before most other ocean life. Climate change is first an ocean issue. Should people care? Well, our oceans absorb over a third of the greenhouse gases produced and up to 80% of the world's excess heat, so oceans truly are the engine that drive and steer the earth's climate

What to do? Ocean Conservancy President Vikki Spruill suggested the following actions:

First, every climate change bill should include support for adaptation strategies. Mitigation alone won't solve the problem. We need to take on both the cure and the recovery of this disease called climate change. Second, this Congress should pass three ocean bills that are already in the pipeline: Oceans 21, the Coral Reef Conservation Act and the National Marine Sanctuary Act. Lastly, do no harm. There are ocean sequestration proposals to deposit the CO2 underwater that would be potentially devastating to the health of the ocean and need to be researched further.

3 comments:

Tim Adams said...

Glad to see the last para from Viki Spruill -

"Lastly, do no harm. There are ocean sequestration proposals to deposit the CO2 underwater that would be potentially devastating to the health of the ocean and need to be researched further."

Some of the more radical sequestration "solutions" being tried out on the Pacific high seas are a bit of a worry to small island countries.

Tim Adams said...

P.S. Things are getting complicated with our attempts to figure out what is likely to happen to Pacific Island marine ecosystems as a result of climate change. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation has just entered a cold phase (see www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2008-066).

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