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On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed The Ocean Acidification Innovation Act, landmark legislation to enable institutions to compete for $50 million annually in federally funded prize money for research dedicated to ocean acidification. The House also passed the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act, which directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to work with state and local experts to assess the likely impacts of acidification on coastal communities, prepare a public report on which communities are most exposed to the problem, and support state efforts to assess their own vulnerabilities. Both bills had overwhelming bi-partisan support – but whether the Senate will take them up remains to be seen.
Why This Matters: As the world’s carbon “sink”, the ocean absorbs almost 93 percent of all the excess carbon emitted, and stores it in algae, vegetation, and coral under the sea. Over the past century, as the pace and amount of carbon dioxide (or CO2) emitted grew (CO2 parts per million is now at the unprecedented level of more than 400 parts per million and rising), the amount of carbon sunk into the seas has also increased and led to unprecedented levels of ocean acidification — an approximate 30 percent increase in ocean acidity since the Industrial Revolution began. As many Members of Congress have said, the ocean has been “abused as a carbon sink” for too long. At a time when America’s political parties are estranged and collaboration seems almost impossible, the impacts of climate change on oceans proved too glaring to ignore and thus offered a rare opportunity for bipartisan legislation.
Increasing ocean acidification has wide-reaching consequences for marine life and habitats, as well as on the communities and industries that rely on them. Ocean acidification will cost the world economy more than $1 trillion annually by 2100, according to a U.N. report released in 2014.
Calcifying marine species, such as oysters, clams, mussels, and shellfish, are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification, as it hinders their ability to form their shell and skeletal structures.
A recent study on the Bermuda Brain Corals discovered that there has been a 25 percent decline in calcification rates over the past 50 years due to ocean acidification.
Marine habitats, such as coral reefs, serve as nursery grounds for newly laid eggs and younger animals to hunt and grow with relative protection, and are a big part in sustaining fishing stocks, but are also severely impacted by ocean acidification and thus pose a large threat to the global fishing industry.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer More than three years after Hurricane Harvey, officials are still clashing over how to disperse aid. In the first $1 billion round of support, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush made some questionable calculations, leaving the hardest-hit communities in its most populous city without a penny in federal aid according to the […]
It’s spring in Paris, they are still struggling with COVID, and yet thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and numerous other French cities to protest climate change. The French legislature is considering a law to impose tougher measures to combat climate change, but many believe the proposals are not sufficient and so they staged marches in Nancy, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, Grenoble, as seen in social media posts.
Why This Matters: Because of the Paris Agreement, France is associated with climate change progress.
As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people.
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