**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water met Tuesday for an oversight hearing, “Science and Policy Update on Ocean Acidification – the “Evil Twin” of Climate Change.” It marked the first legislative hearing on ocean acidification.

 

Showcasing work by the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel

The hearing showcased work by the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, which was convened by California Ocean Science Trust. California Ocean Science Trust is a nonprofit organization established by the State of California to support decision-makers with sound, independent science.

 

Finding ways to address this challenge

Secretary John Laird gave opening remarks, emphasizing the work of the Ocean Protection Council to understand the impacts of ocean acidification. Catherine Kuhlman, the Executive Director of the Ocean Protection Council (OPC), shared OPC’s investment in ocean acidification with the formulation of the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, convened by the California Ocean Science Trust. Ali Boehm, Co-chair of the Panel and Professor at Stanford University discussed the impacts of ocean acidification along the West Coast and previewed the Panel’s work.

 

leaders are taking action on the West Coast

“In the Pacific Northwest, ocean acidification is already having an impact and has cost [the fishing industry] over $100 million and jeopardized jobs,” says Boehm.

Laird and Boehm emphasized that global carbon emissions are at the root cause of the issue, but highlighted that there are actions that the state can implement now to reduce ocean acidification’s impact at the regional level.

The West Coast OAH Panel has summarized their key findings, recommendations, and actions in an Executive Summary, scheduled for public release in April 2016. Kuhlman believes the Panel’s work will be a key asset for California as it prepares for ocean acidification and hypoxia.

“I’m really struck by the success story we had in Washington and Oregon…By having knowledge and applying that knowledge, a problem was solved.”

Laird agrees. “We consider the legislature a complete partner in this,” says Laird.  “I know together we can get it done.”

 

 

About California Ocean Science Trust

California Ocean Science Trust is a nonprofit organization established by the State of California to support decision-makers with sound, independent science. As a liaison between governments, scientists, and citizens, OST aims to build trust and understanding in ocean and coastal science. We also manage OceanSpaces, the online community that tracks the health of California ocean ecosystems, and convene the bi-national West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel. For more information please visit us at www.oceansciencetrust.org or on Twitter or Facebook, or call (510) 350-1892.