The economic impacts of ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater to form carbonic acid. As the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide increases, so does the oceanic concentration in oder to maintain the chemical equilibrium between seawater and the atmosphere. Carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change thus make ocean water more acidic. Ocean acidification reduces the availability of calcium carbonate in oceans. When carbon dioxide bonds with seawater to form carbonic acid, a bicarbonate ion and a hydrogen ion are released. The free hydrogen ions then bond with free carbonate ions and thereby reduce the availability of carbonate ions for marine animals that make calcium carbonate shells and skeletons.


Brander, L.M., Narita, D., Rehdanz, K & Tol, R.S., 2014. The economic impacts of ocean acidification, In: Nunes, P.A.L.D., Kumar, P. & Dedeurwaerdere, T. (Eds.), Handbook on the economics of ecosystem services and biodiversity, pp. 78-92. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Book chapter.

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