Text of In-person Public Comment to the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force

The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force met in San Francisco on Sept. 17, 2009.   I gave them my 2 cents minutes worth, along with the few hundred others there. The video is at: http://www.cal-span.org/cgi-bin/archive.php?owner=NOAA&date=2009-09-17 Time index: 1:56:25

 “Thank you. I’m so glad that Obama has started your work, and I’m tasking you with following through on his promise for science-based policies.

Science has shown us that climate change is the biggest issue that we have. 350 is where we need to be, we are at 390 parts per million, and its going up.  You know what is happening to the oceans: acidification and decreasing phytoplankton populations.  That’s a cascade effect right there.  Half of our CO2 is consumed by the oceans.

So I am charging you with right now with a Manhattan-, an Apollo-type research program on the Ocean Carbon Cycle.

My daughter is here because the nurse couldn’t make it, but for all the generations that follow, green energy isn’t enough. There is too much CO2. We have to sequester it, and the oceans hold that potential – we know that.  We don’t know if it is safe. We don’t know if it is effective. So we need the research now, started now, so that in 10 or 20 years we’ll know what’s going on.  We will have done the microstudies. We will have done the longitudinal studies. And when Japan or China decides, ‘Whoa, we can dump iron, and reduce the carbon”, we’ll know what to do.  You will have a Foreign Policy issue, you will have a National Security issue, if they make that decision.

So let’s do the science now. Let’s redirect NASA – ok? Space is a great way to study the oceans.  NOAA, this is front and center.  I think billions and billions of money ought to be spent on it right now.  And its environmental studies, its ecological studies, that every environmentalist should want to have, to understand the Ocean Carbon Cycle as soon as possible.

 Thank you.”


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