Oceana issued the following statement in response to the House of Representatives passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act Friday, June 26.
"Oceana is pleased that the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. This legislation is a landmark step towards addressing climate, energy and jobs and provides hope for the already imperiled ocean ecosystems that are on the brink of collapse. The Act marks the beginning of a new approach to regulating global warming pollution which is necessary to achieve the critically needed shift to a clean energy economy.
Only a major shift away from our addiction to fossil fuels and toward carbon-free energy sources - such as wind and solar - will achieve the change we need to prevent continued acidification of our oceans. While our oceans have absorbed roughly a third of the carbon dioxide released, thus providing a much-needed service in slowing climate change, it is making them sick.
Carbon dioxide causes a destructive chemical reaction that reduces the availability of calcium carbonate, an essential compound needed by many marine animals to survive. Corals, lobsters, oysters, clams, crabs and mussels, to name just a few, are all commercially important and enhance our quality of life. But they all need calcium carbonate to build their shells and skeletons. A continued "business-as-usual" approach will cause a mass extinction of corals, according to respected scientists. It will also make it harder for other animals, dependent on coral, or on calcium carbonate, to survive. We need almost a total shift to carbon-free energy sources by 2050 and a nearer-term reduction of 25 to 40 percent of carbon dioxide releases by 2020
While their ability to absorb carbon dioxide is declining, our oceans will continue to provide solutions to climate change by helping to produce clean energy through the establishment of offshore wind production. According to the Department of Energy, wind could provide 20 percent of our energy needs by 2030, and offshore wind can be a major contributor. On the other hand, offshore oil drilling should not be expanded as it promises no relief in gas prices, and only threatens to contaminate our beaches and marine wildlife while continuing our destructive fossil fuel addiction.
Although the American Clean Energy and Security Act is a terrific start, it needs to go farther to protect our oceans from acidification and the worst impacts of climate change. Therefore, while Oceana applauds the House of Representatives for initiating this important process, it is essential for the Senate to strengthen this bill to ensure that it includes the reductions needed to protect our oceans and marine wildlife."
Contact: Dustin Cranor, 202.467.1917, 202.341.2267 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org