The annual assessment, structured as a report card and published jointly by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission, grades the government on the past year's ocean-policy performance. So how'd they do? Hard work paid off for state and regional governments, which earned a respectable A–. But not so for Congress and the president, whose subpar grades never once rose above C or D territory.
The feds, who were graded in six areas, from International Leadership (C+) to New Funding for Ocean Programs (D+), performed dismally in comparison. "The funding issue is a disgrace," says Leon Panetta, the co-chair of JOCI, who represented a California district in Congress before serving as President Clinton's chief of staff. "States and regions can do a lot, but they can't solve the larger problems if the federal government just sits on its hands."
Although the global air temperature has risen by almost 2°F over the past century, "air temperature isn't the real story." Because water is far better than air at storing heat, the ocean has absorbed most of the increased heat caused by global warming, a phenomenon that is linked to a host of ocean changes, from warm-water predators extending their range into Antarctic waters, to the breakup and melting of ice shelves at both poles.
Despite the low marks, Panetta sees some progress. "There is an increased level of awareness in Washington of the crisis the ocean faces," he says, pointing to legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Bush last year to make fisheries more sustainable. But that's just a drop of help in an ocean of trouble. "The problem is that it's an A-level crisis and it's being met with a C-level effort."
As physicists and weathermen know, oceans are not heated due to air temperature, It's the reverse. Air temperatures are heating from the ocean's temperature, after all, it's what drives hurricanes and tropical storms.
So what's heating the oceans? It's not CO2! So what is causing global warming-uh, oh, excu'se me, it's now- 'climate change'.
What are they going to call it next, Gore's folly?