Conservation & Science

A step backward on U.S. climate leadership

Today, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to begin dismantling the Clean Power Plan and other critical federal policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that drive global climate change.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard expressed dismay over the executive order, which undermines U.S. leadership in fighting climate change—the greatest environmental challenge of our time.

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Scientists are studying the impacts of climate change across the global ocean, including in the kelp forests of Monterey Bay.

“The executive order rolls back existing federal policies that are critical to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, promoting clean-energy solutions and protecting our ocean, the heart of the planet’s climate system,” she says. “Now is the time to speed up, not reverse, the progress we’ve made in these areas.”

The issue is a priority for Monterey Bay Aquarium because climate change and ocean acidification affect ocean health—and our own survival—in profound ways.

Carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels causes Earth’s atmosphere to thicken, trapping more heat on our planet. The ocean absorbs at least 80 percent of this extra heat, warming the sea’s surface and setting off a cascade of impacts including sea-level rise, stronger storms, shrinking sea ice, coral bleaching and shifting ranges in which marine life can survive.

Carbon emissions also trigger a chemical reaction in the ocean, lowering its pH. More acidic seawater makes survival more challenging for marine life with calcium carbonate shells. The impacts ripple through ocean ecosystems, which produce oxygen and food that sustain life on Earth.

The Aquarium supports urgent, science-based action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, promote clean-energy solutions and protect ocean health.

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Shelled zooplankton like this pteropod are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, a result of rising carbon emissions.

“Monterey Bay Aquarium will continue to advocate for science-based public policies to reduce the emission of heat-trapping gases and promote U.S. leadership in addressing the grave threats to society posed by climate change. We urge the U.S. to honor its commitments under the Paris Agreement,” Julie says.

“We are proud of the significant steps the state of California is taking to accelerate climate solutions and grow a clean-energy economy. We will continue to work with leaders in California, and other states and nations, to advance global climate action that is grounded in science.”

You can join us in the movement toward cleaner fuels and a healthier ocean. Urge your elected officials to defend America’s climate progress and remain a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Learn more about the links between carbon emissions and ocean health—and how you can make a difference—on our Climate Action for the Ocean webpage.

Featured photo: “Energy” by Rich is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 and was cropped for this use.

One thought on “A step backward on U.S. climate leadership”

  1. Just was able to see 3 humpback whales in Monterey bay with my children. Worried my grand children will never have the opportunity. Of course climate change exists, we ALL need to make an effort.

    Like

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