Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We're Killing Off Our Oceans

Sadly, there are still quite a few members of our society that can not possibly fathom that there's a connection between the chemicals we put in the air and the ocean/landmass/atmosphere that takes them in. Perhaps these global warming deniers never learned that Earth is pretty much a closed system (save for the energy of the sun and interstellar material that bombards us daily). Not everyone makes it to science class I guess. No matter how far from the facts they are, the reality of what we are doing to the planet is still ongoing. The latest report from the scientific community concerns the oceans and it isn't pretty, it's actually downright deadly.

From The Guardian:

Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today.

The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing "unprecedented" pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say.

The study, by scientists at Bristol University, will be presented at a special three-day summit of climate scientists in Copenhagen, which opens today. The conference is intended to update the science of global warming and to shock politicians into taking action on carbon emissions.

The increasing change in pH will decimate the oceans. Scientists believe that just another 0.2 drop will bring mass extinctions that haven't occurred in 65 million years. As the article states, it isn't the change in pH levels that scare them the most, it is the politicians who refuse to take substantive action in order to reduce our carbon outputs. Al Gore does a lot of great work, but he cannot shift our nation's energy policy in a quick and dramatic fashion that our Congress and President can.

The problem though, is that we have so many other problems that distract us from taking bold action. Obama is consumed by the fiscal crisis George Bush left him and shifting the direction of the economy is a monumental task in of itself. Yet even if we keep our focus solely on the economy, the oceans will increase in acidity whether or not we make carbon reductions a national...and international priority.