Ocean Acidification Naysayers Multiply

Sep 13, 2010· 1 MIN READ
A six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, Jon writes about all things ocean.

The climate scientists I most trust are all on the same page when it comes to ocean acidification (OA), global warming’s evil twin. They remind us that one-third of all the carbon dioxide produced around the globe through the burning of fossil fuels falls into the ocean.

These fishing boats off Homer, Alaska, called for an end to ocean acidification back in September 2009. Were the fishermen all frothed up about nothing? (Photo: Lou Dematteis/Reuters)

That’s the equivalent of 24 million Volkswagen bugs a day of CO2 falling into the world’s seas, increasing its acidity and taking a heavy toll on coral reefs and shellfish growth around the globe.

The only accepted solution is to drastically reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. One goal is 50 percent by 2050.

Despite all the evidence pointing to OA, there are environmental naysayers aplenty (just like cigarette lobbyists who still insist there’s no link between smoking and lung cancer) who argue that dumping all that carbon dioxide into the ocean is unharmful and may, in fact, be a good thing.

The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson found a list, from the official-sounding Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI). The website's most popular stories today are “35 Inconvenient Truths: The errors in Al Gore’s movie,” “Proved: There is No Climate Crisis," “Fallacies about Global Warming” and “'Consensus'? What 'Consensus'? Among Climate Scientists, The Debate Is Not Over."

Naturally, the SPPI insists that ocean acidification is having no impact and cites corporate-backed science:

Obviously all of this skepticism and debunking making it into “legitimate” scientific argument worries the authors of a new report, published by Climate Progress, which finds that “acidifying oceans spell marine biological meltdown ‘by end of century.’ “

“Unless we curb carbon emissions we risk mass extinctions, degrading coastal waters and encouraging outbreaks of toxic jellyfish and algae,” writes the study’s co-author Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer. The study doesn’t factor in the double-whammy impacts of rising ocean temperatures and rising acidification.

For further, ummm, debate, check out “ocean acidification debunked” or Junk Science Debunked, which compare acidification to “Chicken Little Striking Again” while also polling other hot-topic issues like “flag burning v. Koran burning” (both should be allowed) and how far in advance George W. Bush knew about 9/11.