Ocean acidification video

2010-03-04

in Films and movies, Politics, Science, The environment

Ocean acidification is one of the least appreciated elements of climate change. As the atmosphere fills with carbon dioxide, some of it dissolves into the oceans. That, in turn, makes the water more acidic. This could become a major threat to organisms that depend on being about to draw calcium from the water to make exoskeletons, such as corals and shelled creatures like crabs, lobsters, sea urchins, and shrimp. The latest research from the Carnegie Institution suggests that the world’s coral reefs will begin to disintegrate before the end of the century, if we keep releasing greenhouse gas pollutants at this rate.

Over at A Few Things Ill Considered, there is a link to a good twenty-minute video explaining the problem.

The only way to keep the oceans from getting ever-more acidic is to stop using the atmosphere as a dump for carbon dioxide pollution. The most important means of limiting that is to stop burning coal, as well as unconventional oil and gas.

While the consequences of acidification for corals may be sad, and may offend our aesthetics, it is worth remembering that all life on the planet depends indirectly on ocean life for survival. We cannot know in advance what consequences there will be for humanity, if we continue to use the atmosphere as a dump and turn the oceans to acid.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. March 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Sane people who are paying attention are already scared.

The question is, how do you reach people who have never cared about science. Who have never thought much beyond the social and economic system in which they live.

These people don’t care about plankton and yet, if we somehow manage to wipe them out, they will die all the same.

Milan March 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm

I don’t think most of them really accept it. They are committing the Lindzen Fallacy, and assuming that things really can’t go that wrong for humanity. (A bit like the Aragorn Fallacy, actually)

It simply doesn’t register for them that their children, or their grandchildren, or their great grandchildren could be wiped out en masse by catastrophic or runaway climate change, where we push the biosphere outside the range in which it can sustain human civilization.

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