United States Takes Critical First Step to Address Ocean Acidification

At Rio+20 Earth Summit, U.S. announces plan for coordinated international focus on addressing threat to planet’s oceans

RIO DE JANEIRO  (June 17, 2012) – At the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, the United States announced it will join other countries to fund efforts to create an international center to monitor and study the urgent and growing problem of ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification results when our seas absorb the massive amounts of carbon pollution we produce on land. Rising acidity in the oceans harms a wide range of ocean life, beginning with corals and other animals that form the foundation of sea life. The resulting disruption to the ocean ecosystem could have a widespread ripple effect and further deplete already struggling fisheries worldwide.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has long advocated for a coordinated international focus on ocean acidification. The United States’ decision to join France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Monaco in a voluntary commitment to enhance international understanding of ocean acidification is a good start, according to NRDC.

Following is a statement from Frances Beinecke, president of NRDC:

“Ocean acidification is a truly global threat, affecting every ocean on our planet. The urgency of this problem requires immediate action.  The United States is taking a critical first step in leading efforts to coordinate and share scientific information globally.

“Ultimately, we hope a more sophisticated understanding of this profound threat will lead to protection of those most vulnerable to ocean acidification.” 

In 2009, actress and environmentalist Sigourney Weaver helped produce a documentary film for NRDC called Acid Test that details the rising dangers of ocean acidification.

Weaver made the following statement after Sunday’s announcement:

“Ocean acidification is real and it’s happening now. We must do something to address it, because without healthy populations of ocean fish or vibrant reefs to support tourism, many coastal communities could lose their primary food source and some of their most promising job opportunities.’

To see more about ocean acidification, watch Acid Test here: www.nrdc.org/oceans/acidification/abouthtfilm.asp

To read more about ocean acidification see www.nrdc.org/oceans/acidification/default.asp