Home > Uncategorized > Latest NOAA Science: Climate Change Impacts on US Oceans & Marine Ecosytems

Latest NOAA Science: Climate Change Impacts on US Oceans & Marine Ecosytems

Third Recent Major Federal Initiative Shows Gaps In Gov. Christie’s Sandy Recovery Plans

Yesterday, NOAA released a new scientific Report  that summarizes Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Oceans, Marine Resources.

The Report:

reviews how climate variability is affecting the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of ocean ecosystems, and how these changes are already having societal impacts by affecting fisheries and other valuable ocean products and services. It also synthesizes information on projected climate-driven changes in U.S. ocean ecosystems over the next 25 to 100 years.

The NOAA Report is the third in a series of recent federal initiatives to shine a bright light on climate change and to expose major flaws in the Christie Administration’s plans and recovery efforts.

The NOAA Report follows the release of the Obama Administration’s Sandy Rebuild Taskforce Report, which stressed the need to consider climate change and sea level rise in planning for a more resilient shore, a fundamentally different approach than the Christie Administration.

Similarly, Obama Energy Secretary Moniz appeared last week to highlight the role of climate change in Sandy and to stress the need for aggressive policy responses to climate change, again illustrating major flaws in Governor Christie’s policy, which views climate change as an “esoteric” issue that plays no role in his decisions(except to defund and dismantle effective climate and energy programs).

The NOAA report focuses on the ecological impacts of climate change – particularly on fisheries, which are issues of critical economic importance to the Jersey shore. 

These important “esoteric” ecological and natural resource issues have been neglected and gotten very  few resources and little attention by the media and Christie Administration (with the exception of pumping sand on Delaware Bay beaches for horse crab/red knot habitat preservation).

Worse, the Administration failed to make appointments to the Coastal and Ocean Protection Council. The Council was established by the Legislature to provide scientific and policy guidance to the DEP on ecosystem based management. The Gov.’s first budget  defunded, and then via Executive Order effectively abolished the Council, while DEP Commissioner Martin abandoned an emerging ocean ecosystem based management focus at DEP.

As I wrote, just weeks before Sandy struck (see: Science Meets Politics at the NJ Shore):

This is why we worked to enact the law that created the Coastal and Ocean Protection Council to focus on ecosystem health and ecosystem based management.

Governor Christie’s budgets zeroed the appropriation for that Council. The Governor  has failed to make any appointments to the Council.

DEP actually proposed to abolish the Council under Christie Executive Order #15, a blatant over-reach of Executive power, because the Council was created by the Legislature and can not be abolished by the Governor or DEP.)

And the DEP has done nothing to integrate EBM into existing coastal programs.

The Governor is irresponsibly ignoring the science and refusing to incorporate climate change in his Administration’s recovery efforts.

The NOAA Report will be published soon- here are links and an overview from NOAA’s press release:

Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate is designed to help marine resource managers, communities, and businesses understand, prepare for, and respond to climate impacts on U.S. ocean ecosystems.  It details the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification, and then summarizes what is known about how those changes will affect human uses of marine ecosystems. The report also examines some of the key international implications of climate impacts on ocean ecosystems for the United States (e.g., impacts on seafood supply, international fishing agreements, and protected species conservation), and gives examples on how to prepare for and adapt to these impacts.  Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Because the physiological responses of organisms vary, climate change can have positive, negative, or null effects on species with different tolerances, so that both “winners” and “losers” are likely to emerge.
  • Species ranges are shifting toward the poles and the rate of this shift is greater for marine organisms than for terrestrial ones.
  • The societal impacts of climate change are enormous, affecting all sectors pertaining to human uses of the ocean, including fisheries, energy, transportation, security, human health, tourism, and maritime governance. These changes will require reassessment of governance regimes for ocean environments.
  • Climate change will demand new international partnerships to ensure that management plans are coordinated for shared marine resources.
  • Significant gaps remain in our knowledge of climate impacts on ocean ecosystems.  We  need to better understand the interactions between ocean environmental systems and ocean uses to be able to project and respond to future climate-driven changes.

The report concludes that marine ecosystems likely will continue to be affected—in most cases negatively—by anthropogenic-driven climate change and rising levels of atmospheric CO2.  The authors identified a number of knowledge gaps to help guide future research and action to reduce the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems, marine resources, and the people and businesses that depend on them.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.