Monday, June 8, 2015

The Cost of Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification already costs us a trillion dollars each year and it is getting progressively worse. The same high levels of atmospheric carbon that are driving climate change is also behind ocean acidification. Oceans soak up around half of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by human activity. This is warming the water and causing them to become more acidic. Ocean acidification has a cascade of impacts on a number of ocean creatures including mollusks.

A recent report commissioned by the WWF warns that the oceans are facing mounting pressures from ocean acidification. Our oceans have already become 30 percent more acidic over the past 200 years and the problem is getting worse. Global carbon emissions are causing oceans to acidify faster than they have in 300 million years.

A mass extinction is already underway. As revealed a new study published in the Journal Science, volcanic activity that spewed massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere 252 million years ago caused ocean acidification. This triggered a Permian extinction event that ultimately eradicated 90 percent of all marine species.

As reported in Scientific American, a UN Convention on Biological Diversity study suggested that the cost of lost ecosystem protections due to acidification has an economic value of $1 trillion annually and could top $3 trillion annually by the end of this century.

Related
Assessing the Value of Our Oceans
The Mass Extinction of Our Oceans May have Already Begun

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