Ocean Champions was working hard on Capitol Hill Thursday. We heard first hand how President Obama and Rahm Emanuel were twisting arms, Speaker Pelosi was exerting her influence, and Democratic leadership was applying a full court press on the members of its party, all intended to move a little bill called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (better known as Waxman-Markey). The outcome was unclear then and remained that way until the final result.
Late today, however, the House of Representatives was able to pass this historic legislation by a vote of 219 to 212. This represents a sea change in our national approach to energy and climate change, and gets us moving forward in the right direction. The bill has many moving parts, but above all else, it establishes a cap on carbon emissions and a cap and trade approach to lowering them over time.
Carbon emissions are causing some of the biggest problems facing our oceans. Ocean acidification, which poses a massive threat to ocean habitats, marine food webs, and fish stocks, is a direct result of carbon dioxide dissolving in seawater. Sea level rise is a secondary result of global warming, also caused by atmospheric carbon. By imposing a cap on emissions and a market-based system for reducing them, this bill provides hope that we can finally begin to address these serious ocean problems. So tonight, Ocean Champions thanks the Congressmen and women who worked so hard to deliver the victory.
For the oceans,
David Wilmot, Ph.D. Mike Dunmyer President & Co-Founder Executive Director
P.S. On to the Senate!