West Coast states called on nations at the United Nations Ocean Conference this week to take action against ocean acidification to protect vital economic and cultural resources around the world.
Representatives from Washington state and California are joining other members of the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification as they attend the Ocean Conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City. Washington and California are representing the Pacific Coast Collaborative, an alliance among Washington, California, Oregon and British Columbia to act on climate change.
Washington was a founding member of the ocean-acidification alliance, which launched in December 2016. Alliance members — governments, organizations, businesses and universities — have committed to taking meaningful action by crafting local or regional plans on ocean acidification. They are inviting U.N. nations to join the alliance to invest in research and monitoring of the problem as well as to explore ways to change ocean conditions, educate the public and reduce the carbon emissions causing acidification.
Scientists have determined that the ocean is 30 percent more acidic now than it was in pre-industrial times, as a result of carbon pollution. It has also absorbed more than 90 percent of the extra heat caused by this pollution. As a result, significant changes are occurring, including damage to shellfish, coral reefs and food sources for salmon.
Julie Horowitz, a senior adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee, is representing Washington at the five-day conference. She spoke about plans to fight acidification, alongside representatives from Chile, France, the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, and California, as well as Taylor Shellfish, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
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