Cooling Earth alone will not solve ocean acidification

Commentary writers Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt provided lip service to “other good reasons to reduce fossil-fuel use,” but they did not elaborate (“More than 1 way to cool Earth,” The Forum, Oct. 27).

Ocean acidification is a major environmental catastrophe resulting from increased fossil-fuel use and the resultant atmospheric increase in carbon dioxide. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by sea water, increasing acidity of the oceans. Minor increases in acidity of the world’s oceans affect many calcium-carbonate producing marine animals — including clams, snails, sea stars and sea urchins. These animals will have decreased growth rates or increased mortality. And many of their larvae will face abnormal development or death. Cooling the Earth quickly and cheaply without decreasing carbon dioxide levels would not solve this problem.

There is an even more insidious aspect to the writers’ proposal to release massive amounts of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. Remember acid rain? Release of sulfur dioxide from coal-fired generating plants had a devastating effect on forests and aquatic life in lakes and ponds of eastern North America. Do the authors really want to increase acid rain problems by orders of magnitude? This smacks of the logic that resulted in releasing mongooses to control rats in Hawaii. Instead, the mongooses threatened native birds.

These kinds of snake oil cures often fail and produce unexpected problems.

Thomas Shirley and Bridgette Froeschke (Corpus Christi, Texas), USA TODAY, 4 November 2009. Full article.

1 Response to “Cooling Earth alone will not solve ocean acidification”

  1. 1 Anonymous 20 November 2009 at 22:26

    Nice article, I will keep visiting this blog very often

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