President Addresses Climate Change in Speech to Nation
WASHINGTON – The Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) is pleased that President Bush opened the doors on the important issue of climate change in last night’s State of the Union Address as the oceans play a critical role in our climate and are being impacted by the rapidly changing environment.
“The oceans drive our climate, yet our climate also affects the health of our oceans,” said RADM Richard West, U.S. Navy (Retired), President & CEO of CORE. “Warmer ocean waters, with greater concentrations of carbon dioxide have tremendous implications from intensified hurricanes, sea level rise to loss of marine life and public health threats.”
Green House gases are an important climate problem. Our ocean waters absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and become more acidic. This change in PH threatens the ability of very small marine organisms to create their skeletons and thus survive. The impacts from losing the bottom of the marine food chain will have devastating impacts on fisheries.
Climatologists also predict an increased frequency and severity of storms such as hurricanes that will exacerbate flooding on our coasts. Lastly, increasing sea levels from the melting of polar ice caps will threaten the millions of people who live at low elevations.
The ocean-related impacts from climate change are frightening and we do not fully understand the relationship between the oceans and climate. Last week, a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences found that “about half of the scientific instruments on the country’s environmental satellites are expected to stop working by 2010, which will lead to a loss of data used to study climate change, predict natural disasters, and monitor land use.”
“I hope that as the President tackles the climate change issue, he invests in the programs that help us better understand our climate. We must better manage our resources, predict hazards, and mitigate the impacts from a rapidly changing environment,” continued RADM West.