Washington, DC— The biggest threat to our environment is carbon dioxide emissions, and lawmakers are increasingly alarmed about the impact it’s having on our oceans. A new Food & Water Watch report notes clear scientific evidence demonstrating how our oceans have been absorbing increasing levels of carbon dioxide at an alarmingly rapid rate thanks to pollution from burning fossil fuels and deforestation, which results in increasingly acidic waters. Ocean acidification endangers marine habitats, coastal regions, fisheries, livelihoods, environmental stability and food security.
“Unfortunately, words like climate change and global warming now have a new sibling joining the American lexicon: ocean acidification,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Science and nature keep telling us that something is wrong—that the way we abuse energy and create massive amounts of waste is having a major and negative impact on our carefully balanced ecosystems.”
The report also calls for additional research at a time that Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Lois Capps (D-CA) have introduced separate legislation to help study the effects of CO2 emissions and their impacts.
One of the more shocking scientific facts to consider is the rate of change in emissions over the last 200 years. Prior to the industrial revolution, C02 levels were between 180 and 300 parts per million (ppm). But industrialization caused an increase in emissions whose levels have now surpassed 400 ppm, making the rate of change about 100 times faster than any change seen in the last 650,000 years.
But the most urgent aspect of ocean acidification is that it is already happening and stands to only get worse without concerted action to address runaway CO2 emissions. If the status quo continues it is predicted that significant effects will be seen in only 45 years.
The subtext of the report reveals that our current efforts to reverse the effects of too much C02 in our atmosphere using geoengineering and market-based solutions involving cap-and-trade, water pollution trading and offsets are not effective.
“Even the Pope, in his encyclical letter last week, lamented the failure of pollution trading,” said Hauter. “Market-based solutions have failed us every time because they are based on compromise and industry profits, not on actually reducing the impact we’re having. The only way to counter this phenomenon is to avoid false solutions and actually reduce carbon emissions on a global scale.”
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, [email protected], 202-683-2467