State-Level Action on Ocean Acidification: States Care More than You Think

Melissa McCutcheon, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, Physical and Environmental Sciences, Corpus Christi, TX, United States, Sarah R Cooley, Ocean Conservancy Inc., Washington, DC, United States and Ryan Ono, Ocean Conservancy, United States
Ocean acidification (OA) is gaining recognition as an environmental and economic threat on regional and national scales. Within the last decade, several states have begun taking action to various degrees to try to understand OA and start to develop solutions. We have analyzed the state-level legislation regarding OA, showing that the degree of state-level action can serve as a proxy for the state-perceived importance of the issue. While the states that seem to be assigning the most importance to OA are those that would be expected based on their political climate or enhanced regional threats, several more surprising states are also recognizing the importance of OA and calling for legislative action. Nine of the twenty-three US coastal states have established a coordinated OA council to make recommendations for long-term state action, but there are still coastal states with very high social vulnerability to the effects of OA that have yet to take action on this issue. This analysis highlights the opportunities for states to begin or advance their action on OA and may help support greater vertical integration linking state efforts to federal research funding and policy.