The Council of the American Geophysical Union, a Member Society of
the American Institute of Physics, adopted a statement in response to
a report issued by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Entitled "An
Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century," the report was the impetus
for an executive order issued by President Bush that established a Committee
on Ocean Policy within the Council on Environmental Quality.
According to this statement, "AGU supports the integrated research,
research infrastructure, and education findings of the U.S. Commission
on Ocean Policy. AGU urges immediate development of a comprehensive
ocean policy with a holistic approach to ocean environmental health
and resource sustainability."
The following FYIs provide background:
The report's findings: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/090.html
Congressional response to the report: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/136.html
President Bush's response: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/137.html
The AGU statement, adopted by its Council at its December 2005 meeting,
"AGU supports the integrated research, research infrastructure,
and education findings of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. AGU
urges immediate development of a comprehensive ocean policy with a
holistic approach to ocean environmental health and resource sustainability.
"In 2004, the United States Government issued the Commission's
An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century, the government's first comprehensive
evaluation of U.S. policies concerning Earth's oceans in 35 years.
Since publication of the report, the President has issued an executive
order establishing a Committee on Ocean Policy as part of the Council
on Environmental Quality, and he has released the U.S. Ocean Action
Plan. However, these are only the first of many urgently needed measures.
"The Commission's report calls for an integrative framework
of ecosystem-based management for the oceans. Achievement of this
objective requires a fundamental understanding of the oceans in the
context of an integrated Earth system that encompasses land-ocean-atmosphere.
This understanding, which can only be acquired through enhanced basic
research and education, is essential for prudent policy and governance
changes that can lead to wise stewardship of sustainable oceans.
"The report also identifies numerous policy, scientific
research, and education issues in urgent need of attention to redress
degradation of the ocean environment and to meet the challenges facing
the nation for sustainable management of ocean resources. For example,
the report highlights global warming, resource depletion, increasing
ocean acidity, coastal erosion, detrimental human inputs of nutrients,
and pollution as significant human impacts on the oceans that threaten
economic growth and viability around the planet. To address these
and other issues, the Commission recommended new funding for observational
technologies, including the development of a comprehensive ocean observing
system and advanced ocean modeling capabilities, modernization of
the entire fleet of research vessels, and other enhancements to the
infrastructure essential for oceans research.
"AGU also recognizes that enhanced ocean education must
accompany enhanced investment for oceans research and research infrastructure.
Thus, AGU supports educational programs that build tomorrow's workforce
and increase awareness of the need for healthy oceans, the value of
ecosystem-based oceans management and the broader links of ocean health
to global prosperity.
"The oceans remain one of the least studied and most
poorly known components of the Earth system, yet are vital to the
existence and well-being of the Earth and its people. AGU urges the
U.S. Government to adopt the Commission's recommendations with respect
to ocean research, research infrastructure, and education. These recommendations
should be implemented as soon as possible."