Washington, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy, in response to the introduction of Rep. Bonamici’s House Resolution.
“Today, Representative Suzanne Bonamici introduced a Resolution to the House of Representatives calling for our government to take action against climate change in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Ocean Conservancy endorses this Resolution and asks for additional Representatives to step up and take climate action for our ocean by cosponsoring the Resolution.
“The IPCC’s special report is the first stand-alone assessment of our ocean, cryosphere and climate. It is further confirmation of what we know: the ocean is warming, becoming more acidic and losing oxygen because of human-caused climate change. Communities are already feeling these impacts, especially indigenous communities and people of color.
“The ocean isn’t only a victim of climate change; it’s also part of the solution. As Representative Bonamici’s Resolution makes clear, we need to take ambitious, ocean-specific action to mitigate climate change’s impacts. The U.S. needs to drastically reduce its emissions, particularly carbon dioxide which causes ocean acidification. This means swiftly reducing and ultimately eliminating emissions from ocean-based industries, particularly shipping; investing in clean energy including from smartly-sited offshore renewable energy sources; and restoring and protecting “blue carbon” habitats like salt marshes, seagrasses and mangroves that draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
“Not only must we mitigate the future impacts of climate change, but we must also adapt to those impacts we feel today and will inevitably feel tomorrow. This should include creating smartly designed, well-enforced and well-managed marine protected areas; reducing added stressors like overfishing, chemical pollution and runoff and the increasing inflow of plastic; and fully utilizing key resilience tools like marine planning and green infrastructure.
“The ocean drives our climate system and we can’t afford to ignore it. To date the ocean has absorbed 90% of the heat generated by global warming and 30% of the carbon dioxide released since the Industrial Revolution. We urgently need climate action now.
“We urge additional Representatives to cosponsor Representative Bonamici’s Resolution and take action to protect our ocean and the entire U.S. The whole world relies on the ocean for food, jobs and to make life on Earth possible. As the ocean goes, we go.”
Janis Searles Jones is available for media interviews upon request.
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.