On Sept 26, Governor Walker’s Climate Action Leadership Team (CALT) delivered recommended policies and actions to address “immediate and urgent threats” of climate change to our ecosystems, communities, and economies. The CALT is a diverse group of Alaskans, including longstanding community leaders, youth, fishermen, representatives from the oil, gas and coal industries, and experts in renewable energy, scientific monitoring, and policy. Their recommendations for action span the role of local government, understanding the effects on human and ecosystem health, creating economic opportunity, clean energy development, education, and investment.
The CALT highlighted ocean acidification — caused by the same carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global climate change — as a related concern for marine resource-based economies and the ecosystem.
Recent research has shown that the threats of ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures are significant to Alaska’s economy, local communities, and individual livelihoods. Stopping—or at least slowing—the rate of ocean acidification is critical to Alaska’s fisheries, fishing industry, and resource-based economy.
With input from the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, the CALT made the following recommendations with regard to ocean acidification:
- Continue and increase monitoring and reporting on ocean acidification and it’s impacts on Alaska’s fisheries and coastal/marine ecosystems.
- The State should explore best practices for ocean acidification research with scientists and stakeholders, including strategies for monitoring, species response, and projection of future ocean acidification. Priority should be placed on successful approaches implemented by other regions.
- The State should launch a competition that focuses on innovative solutions to building resilience against ocean acidification.
- The Governor’s Mariculture Task Force should encourage and assist aquatic farm operators in the collection of ocean data at farm sites and promote and test technologies and processes that may mitigate ocean acidification in Alaska’s coastal waters.
The Alaska Ocean Acidification Network looks forward to working with State and other partners.