Ocean acidification: how CO2 emissions and false solutions threaten our oceans

Rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the earth’s atmosphere are causing a phenomenon called ocean acidification. As the oceans absorb more and more CO2, this results in seawater becoming more acidic and creates increasingly unfavorable conditions for calcifying sea life such as shellfish and corals. Unfortunately, these marine organisms are already experiencing the effects of acidification, which will only continue and increase with time.

Ocean acidification is setting off a chain reaction throughout entire ocean ecosystems, bringing with it serious implications for marine habitats, coastal regions,
fisheries, livelihoods, environmental stability and food security. It is pervasive and unlike other current environmental crises, and its legitimacy is unquestionable and backed by scientific evidence: CO2 emissions are the direct cause of ocean acidification.

Addressing such a widespread issue requires concerted and collective action at every level, beginning with the only viable option to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification: significantly reducing and stopping CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. Secondly, addressing coastal pollution inputs that add to acidification will be equally important in combating the ramifications of acidification. Thirdly, this crisis must be taken seriously — more research, as well as funding to do the research, is exceedingly needed.

There is no time to waste debating whether ocean acidification is real; it is already happening and will only get worse if the status quo continues. It will affect everyone, directly or indirectly, and everyone shares the oceans in one way or another. This report serves to delve deeper into the specifics of ocean acidification, its greatest impacts, what will be our best options going forward and what options are not worthwhile. The unbridled destruction of our environment has to stop — we must protect our vital common resources.

Food & Water Watch, January 2015. Report.

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