The threat of carbon emissions on the world’s oceans

As the republican presidential primary race drags on, the politics of global warming seem ever more divorced from scientific reality. The process of scientific inquiry, meanwhile, offers yet more warnings about what might happen if fractured climate politics stymie long-term action.

Emitting massive amounts of carbon dioxide doesn’t just change the chemistry of the atmosphere; it makes the oceans more acidic. Predicting the impact on ocean ecosystems involves educated speculation, which often involves applying evidence of what has happened before. In the latest edition of the journal Science, a team of researchers reckons that today’s human-emitted CO2 is increasing ocean acidity far faster than previous, naturally occurring episodes scientists have studied, which themselves appear to have had very alarming results.

The Washington Post, 6 March 2012. Full article.


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