Last month, representatives from Washington State and California joined members of the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York City to take action against ocean acidification which continues to threaten vital economic and cultural resources worldwide. Washington and California represented the Pacific Coast Collaborative, an alliance among Washington, California, Oregon and British Colombia to act on climate change. Members of the ocean-acidification alliance from governments and organizations to businesses and universities, have committed to taking meaningful action by crafting local or regional plans on ocean acidification according to Medium.
Washington, a founding member of the alliance, recently hosted Chilean President Michele Bachelet who met with Governor Jay Inslee to discuss how to work together on environmental challenges including ocean acidification. Both agreed on the importance of taking a global stance and noted that the early effects of climate change and ocean acidification are already apparent.
Official Governor's Office Photo
“We explored ways that we could work together to share some research and take more shared action,” the Governor said in a statement to the press after the event.
At the ocean conference, alliance members invited UN nations to join the alliance and invest in research and monitoring of the problem. The ocean absorbs a quarter of the CO2 in the atmosphere each year, changing the chemistry of the seawater. Scientists estimate that carbon pollution is causing oceans to acidify faster than they have in 300 million years. Damage to shellfish, coral reefs and food sources for a variety of sea life is already occurring which puts the livelihoods of many coastal communities around the world at risk.
Commercial fisheries in Washington state generate $1.6 billion annually according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The West Coast is already experiencing the negative impact of ocean acidification. To sustain jobs, support coastal economies and feed billions of people, a concerted global effort is needed to address this problem.