Carbon emissions making oceans more acidic, threatening marine life


The acidification of our oceans due to carbon emissions is at its highest level in 300m years and has emerged as a major threat to marine life. Another reason why we must move away from fossil fuels and reduce emissions – instead of building more infrastructure for cars.

Thanks to blog visitor Margie for the video link.

The Guardian reports:

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the seas – at least a third of the carbon that humans have released has been dissolved in this way, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – and makes them more acidic. But IPSO found the situation was even more dire than that laid out by the world’s top climate scientists in their landmark report last week.

In absorbing carbon and heat from the atmosphere, the world’s oceans have shielded humans from the worst effects of global warming, the marine scientists said. This has slowed the rate of climate change on land, but its profound effects on marine life are only now being understood.

Acidification harms marine creatures that rely on calcium carbonate to build coral reefs and shells, as well as plankton, and the fish that rely on them. Jane Lubchenco, former director of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a marine biologist, said the effects were already being felt in some oyster fisheries, where young larvae were failing to develop properly in areas where the acid rates are higher, such as on the west coast of the US. “You can actually see this happening,” she said. “It’s not something a long way into the future. It is a very big problem.”

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Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
9 Oct 2013 6.07pm

Will Malaysians continue to enjoy local seafood in the future? WWF-Malaysia’s new Save Our Seafood (S.O.S) guide tells a grim story. This updated version of the first guide paints a bleak picture of the state of fisheries in Malaysia. Between 1971 and 2007, the country has lost almost 92% of its fishery resources. Compared to the first guide, which featured about 44% of the assessed species falling into the red list, the new S.O.S guide has an astounding 52% in the red list. The assessment covered about 100 commercially-important species in Malaysia, assessed using the international methodology developed jointly by… Read more »

Wee Chin
Wee Chin
11 Oct 2013 12.01pm
Reply to  Don Anamalai

Overfishing is threatening the fish stock in our ocean.
Small fish are netted (before they could grow to adult size), has no commercial value at dinner table, but are used to make paste to feed prawns and other fish in the fish farm.

13 Nov 2013 11.58am
Reply to  Wee Chin

True. The small fry and little fish are all hauled up and used as commercial fish feed, so the marine life cannot be replenished, so the fish population is decreasing!

9 Oct 2013 11.25am

cement is 2/3 CaO, and it is highly alkaline, pH of 12-13. concrete is abt 17% or more cement mixed with aggregate (gravel), and is also highly alkaline. so cement or concrete is alkaline, NOT acidic. btw, it is not true that concrete will leach out alkaline and kill aquatic life. leaching tests confirmed that only trace amounts are leached out during the fresh wet concrete phase and certainly not from cured or hardened concrete. ref: as for global warming, or now, the intentionally more obtuse phrase climate change (because empirical observations dont match up with scientific projections, the… Read more »

Dean Pratley
Dean Pratley
9 Oct 2013 4.37pm
Reply to  kohlfuzion

According to nearly all the world’s climate scientists, the harmful effects of climate change will far outweigh the beneficial effects. And yes, the world has been warmer in the past, but human civilisation hasn’t been around for very long. .

We can welcome climate change with jokes about Russians not needing fur coats but we won’t be able to joke as easily about disruptions to major food supplies.

8 Oct 2013 3.16pm

Meanwhile get those empty Rapid and tour buses to turn off their engines when waiting for their passengers, especially those at the foot of Penang Hill.

8 Oct 2013 8.08pm
Reply to  Penangkia

Penangkia, how do you expect them to turn off their engine. They want to continue enjoying the air condition while waiting.

8 Oct 2013 10.13am

Why are you guys in the NGOs ignoring the elephant in the room and talk about irrelevant things ? While the CM busy selling the state to foreign interests and wasting billions, you talk about issues that has no direct relevance to Penang. what happened to the fighting spirit that you guys showed in opposing PGCC and others during KTK time ? Why the silence now? The protests are so muted that we can hardly hear them. Is it become CM and DAP are beholden? Or all the time you were driven not by principles but politics ? Semua OK… Read more »

Dean Pratley
Dean Pratley
8 Oct 2013 12.23pm
Reply to  calvinsankaran

How can the future health of the planet be irrelevant? Our food and our health depend upon a healthy environment – without it there will be famine, disease, economic collapse and war, and if that happens the ownership of the state and most of our other current concerns will seem totally irrelevant. I suggest you read ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond, which gives some examples of where that has happened to localised societies in the past, and which now threatens human civilisation as a whole.

8 Oct 2013 9.56am

Do your responsible part. Take public bus and less personal car to reduce carbon footprints.
Otherwise your “cucu” will not have the chance to enjoy what you are having now.

Go RAPID for Penangites.

8 Oct 2013 9.10am

Beside carbon emission, cement in landfills is also acidic. Construction to extend land areas beyond existing coastline is very harmful if not controlled. This is not to say we must not increase land areas beyond Nature’s coastline. But first look at the extensive land idleness in mainland (rural & urban fringes) which could be changed to spaces full of life if well planned & zoned. I have not gone fishing for the last 40 yrs, but I can be sure there are less Koay Kau (prized grouper fish) around Penang Island. Less Burung Merbok & Burung Murai due to botak-ing… Read more »

Dean Pratley
Dean Pratley
8 Oct 2013 8.48am

More evidence that our addiction to fossil fuels is threatening the ecosystem upon which all living beings depend.