Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing about the ways in which the impact of the ecological crisis in the world’s oceans are affecting the U.S. economy.
From Deerin Babb-Brott, Assistant Secretary of Oceans and Coastal Zone Management of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“While tide, current, and wave resources represent potential as renewable energy sources, wind energy in the Northeast is the resource with the greatest promise on the basis of currently available technology. Here, offshore wind is superior to remote onshore wind in terms of resource size, distribution, capacity factor, reliability, minimization of environmental impact, and proximity to population centers. It is a potentially inexhaustible resource that, in many cases, is available in close proximity to regions with the highest electricity demand, minimizing the need for costly new transmission lines.
Concurrent with these new demands comes an increasing awareness of the tremendous importance of maintaining a healthy and resilient marine ecosystem to both support the uses and services that society values and benefits from and also to support its resilience to the increasing threats of global climate change. Time is long overdue to be more active stewards of these public resources and to take a more pro-active stance in planning for marine ecosystem protection and the responsible and sustainable uses that stem from it.”
From Judith T. Kildow of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute:
“The ocean economy?a smaller economy than the coastal economy?in 2004 generated $138 billion, approximately 1.2% of the US GDP, and provided 2.3 million jobs. This is equivalent in size to the U.S. insurance industry by employment and the motor vehicle parts industry by GDP.
I would like to make two points here that I think important: First, the coastal and ocean economies will power the nation’s economic recovery. Second, the deleterious effects of climate change will adversely affect the continuing growth of
these important economies unless we taken action to curb greenhouse gasses soon.”
From Alexandra Cousteau of Blue Legacy International:
“The decline of the oceans due to pollution, overfishing, and climate change is now increasingly being felt in the quality of life of people on land. This was never more apparent to me than during our Expedition last month to Louisiana. Louisiana’s wetlands are twice the size of the Everglades National Park, funnel more oil into the US than the Alaskan Pipeline, sustain one of the nation’s largest fisheries, and provide vital hurricane protection for New Orleans. And they are disappearing under the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 33 football fields a day.”