Kyle Schaefer worries his days as a fishing guide are numbered.
He was one of five witnesses to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday about how climate change threatens.blue economy,” is a term that encompasses the many ways in which the world’s oceans contribute to the global economy.
“Climate trends create a significant increase in risk and undermine my confidence in a prosperous future for my fishing businesses,” said Schaefer, an American who owns a small business in the Bahamas. “I may be forced to close my charter business in the next few seasons because there won’t be enough fish left.”
Climate scientists and economists have warned about climate change can cause significant damage to the global economy in the coming decades – and some of these changes are already happening. Severe drought It obstructs ships on the Mississippi River and global ocean temperatures hit record highs for nine straight months last year.
Sea-level rise combined with stronger storms is a slightly opposite risk threatening important ports.
“Sea level rise affects coastal ecosystems and the infrastructure that supports the blue economy, including supply chains, real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, insurance markets, health care costs, and more,” said Andrea Dutton, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Geology explained at the hearing.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, made an urgent call. His condition counts ocean industries as a particularly important part of its economy.
“Ocean economies face particular risk from climate change,” he told the hearing. “You’ve heard the warnings. You saw the witnesses. They were serious adults, experts in their fields. Early evidence of their warnings coming true is already visible. It’s time to wake up.”
The blue economy is projected to grow faster than the global economy in the coming decades and reach $3 trillion by 2030. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationIn the United States, 40% of people live on coasts and are at greater risk from high tide flooding, hurricanes, sea level rise, erosion and climate change.
Climate change—and, crucially, what to do about it—remains a highly politicized issue in Washington, though more Republicans began to accept calls for urgent action.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said the U.S. would have to balance economic interests with climate action and pushed to hold China and India accountable for producing harmful greenhouse gases.
“I am not a climate change denier. I’m not just an alarmist about climate change,” he told the hearing.
While there were no specifics on how government money could be spent in future bills specifically to help the blue economy, witnesses and lawmakers pointed to reducing dependence on fossil fuels as a key solution.
“Because humans are causing the rapid warming of our planet, that means we are the solution,” Dutton said. “Our climate future is not just where we have to go, it’s where we have to co-create.”