Earthgauge Radio: the crisis of ocean acidification (audio)

Dr. Robert Rangeley of the World Wildlife Fund of Canada who explains why the rapid acidification of the word’s oceans threatens many forms of marine life and may even endanger the oceanic food chain.

Part 1 – Ocean acidification

The United Nations International Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar wrapped up last week. Although virtually ignored in the Canadian mainstream media, we covered it here on Earthgauge quite extensively but in the end, little was accomplished with no new commitments to cut CO2 emissions and no new funding being committed. Only 37 of the 195 participating nations agreed to extend the ineffectual Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions and as Reuters news agency reported, “many of those most concerned about climate change are close to despair.”

Meanwhile, global emissions in 2012 are expected to rise by 2.6 percent over 2011 levels. This represents an astonishing 58 percent increase in emissions since 1990. Now we’ve talked a lot on this show about what all this excess CO2 means for our changing climate but what are the implications for the global oceans? After all, about a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the earth’s oceans, where they’re having an impact that’s just starting to be understood.

It turns out excess CO2 due to burning fossil fuels is actually changing the chemistry of the seas and proving harmful for many forms of marine life. A more acidic ocean could wipe out species, disrupt the food web and impact fishing, tourism and other human activities on the oceans. Over the last 250 years, oceans have absorbed 530 billion tons of CO2, triggering a 30 percent increase in ocean acidity.

So to kick off the program today we welcome our newest Earthgauge contributor, Xerez Bridglall, who will bring us an interview she did with Dr. Robert Rangeley, the VP of Conservation, Atlantic Region, for the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Sometimes described as “the other CO2 problem”, the rapid acidification of the word’s oceans represents an extremely grave threat not only to marine life but of course to the vast majority of humanity who depend on the bounty of the oceans for our food, well being or our livelihoods. Dr. Rangeley will explain what is happening and why it is so important.

Mark Brooks and Xerez Bridglall, Earthgauge Radio, 13 December 2012. Text and audio.

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