With ocean acidification and ocean warming growing concerns for coastal Alaskans and the seafood industry, a new podcast called “The Future Ocean: What Can Carbon Policy Do for the Ocean and Our Fisheries?”explores potential policy solutions to address these issues.
Sponsored by the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, the six 28-minute podcast episodes use marine scientists, economists, and leaders in Alaska’s clean energy transition to discuss the different policy options, how they work, what the terms mean, and what action is happening regionally and nationally. The podcast will launch on Wednesday, Sept 29.
“Climate change and ocean acidification share the same root cause: increased global carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas for energy,” said Darcy Dugan, Director of the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network. “The Future Ocean podcast is a way to engage more Alaskans in conversations about the changes happening in our marine ecosystems and potential solutions that are currently before Congress. We encourage coastal Alaskans, everyone in the seafood industry, and anyone concerned about the future ocean to listen.”
In the first two episodes, guest scientists describe the changes happening in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. They discuss how ocean acidification works, and why Alaska may be one of the first places impacted by acidification. Listeners will learn about scientists and communities researching the effects of ocean acidification on marine life, and monitoring ocean conditions. The intersection between acidification, warming, and events such as harmful algal blooms, is featured. As global carbon emissions have increased, the ocean is absorbing and storing much more heat from the atmosphere than it used to, and guest scientists explain how ocean warming is transforming Alaska’s oceans, with consequences for fisheries and fishery dependent economies.
In episodes 3, 4 and 5, the podcast turns to economists to explore policies that put a price on carbon emissions as a carbon reduction tool. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that a steep and rapid reduction in carbon emissions is required to prevent the worst and irreversible consequences of ocean warming, the many other manifestations of climate change, and ocean acidification. In a recent report, the IPCC called the warming trend a “code red for humanity.” The internationally renowned group of scientists urges global and local leaders to sharply reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, meaning not adding any more carbon to the atmosphere. The Future Ocean podcast aims to help listeners learn about carbon policy as a potential path for progress and delves into carbon pricing as a tool to incentivize renewable energy development, replacing fossil fuel systems and driving down carbon emissions.
Experts interviewed on the podcast explain various forms of carbon pricing, each with specific methods for making renewable energy more competitive and stimulating innovation. They share what policies are being discussed, and in some places applied in the U.S. and around the world, as part of a suite of actions aimed at sharply reducing emissions in the time frame advised by the IPCC.
“The Future Ocean is really about solutions,” said Dugan. “We want Alaskans to realize there are options being considered right now to help turn the tide with regard to ocean warming and acidification. These potential solutions can have multiple benefits. Our guest economists describe putting a price on carbon emissions as an essential tool for stimulating innovation, investment in clean energy, and doing it in a way that supports households and small business in the transition.”
In episode 6, leaders in Alaska’s expansion of clean energy talk about progress being made in the state. This includes renewable energy development in 80 rural villages, larger systems in regional hub communities, and emerging opportunities for clean energy along the railbelt. Listeners can hear about the future of financing renewables in Alaska through an innovative proposition called a “green bank.” Finally, the podcast visits with leaders of Kodiak Electric Association. With its hydropower, wind power, and novel flywheel technology used to move seafood containers onto ships, Kodiak is a showcase for building renewable energy infrastructure and demonstrating the advantages of low-cost power for the local seafood industry.
Starting on September 29, 2021, the podcast will be listenable through Spotify, Apple Podcasts, the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, or www.thefutureoceanpodcast.com. It will be promoted by the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network and other partners through the month of October.
The podcast was funded in part by Sitka Salmon Shares, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the Claudia and Stosh Anderson Fund, Deborah Williams and Mary Kancewick. It was produced by Dorothy Childers and Maggie Wall.