This Oceana report document increasing carbon dioxide levels in the oceans as a result of carbon dioxide releases to the atmosphere. The result is an increase in the acidity levels of ocean waters. The process, which is known as ocean acidification, reduces the ability of marine animals such as corals, crabs, lobsters, clams and oysters to create calcium carbonate skeletons and shells, which will likely reduce their survival rates, and their ability to mature and reproduce. Such a decline and widespread death of coral reefs will cost society billions of dollars annually in lost fishing and tourism revenue and will jeopardize the coastal protection services that coral reefs otherwise provide.
Acidification Harms Wildlife
Acid created by excess carbon dioxide in the oceans takes carbonate, which would otherwise be used by these animals to create shells and skeletons, and makes it unavailable. This makes it increasingly difficult for corals and other marine animals to strengthen existing structures and build new ones. If ocean acidification continues, the very water that these organisms live in could become so corrosive that it would dissolve their shells and skeletons directly.
There is a Solution…
Oceana describes a framework of actions for policymakers, business leaders and the public to reduce carbon emissions and prevent massive die-offs of marine ecosystems, including:
* Adopt a policy of stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide at 350 parts per million or below
* Promote energy efficiency and low carbon fuels
* Transition quickly to alternative energy sources
* Regulate carbon releases
* Preserve natural resilience of marine ecosystems by protecting them from overfishing and pollution
Acid Test: Can We Save Our Oceans from CO2? Oceana. Article source.