The problem with "climate change" is that the deniers have effectively sown doubt about the causes and realities of global warming, regardless of the data or the agreement of experts.
This is chemical. This is measured in decades. We may live to see an ocean that cannot support life as it has known it for millions of years.
"Ocean acidification" has no deniers.
Nobody disputes that as CO2 goes into the atmosphere, it gets absorbed at approximately a ton of carbon per person, per year, which gets absorbed by the ocean as carbolic acid. That acidic water prevents calcium-based structures -- phytoplankton, shellfish, coral, and much more -- from successfully forming.
Go read the article:
They are calling it "the other CO2 problem". Its victim is not the polar bear spectacularly marooned on a melting ice floe, or an eagle driven out of its range, nor even a French pensioner dying of heatstroke. What we have to mourn are tiny marine organisms dissolving in acidified water. In fact we need to do rather more than just mourn them. We need to dive in and save them.
Suffering plankton may not have quite the same cachet as a 700-kilo seal-eating mammal, but their message is no less apocalyptic. What they tell us is that the chemistry of the oceans is changing, and that, unless we act decisively, the limitless abundance of the sea within a very few decades will degrade into a useless tidal desert. ...
On average, each person on Earth contributes a tonne of carbon to the oceans every year. The result is a rapid rise in acidity -- or a reduction in pH, as the scientists prefer to express it -- which, as it intensifies, will mean that marine animals will be unable to grow shells, and that many sea plants will not survive.
With these crucial links removed, and the ecological balance fatally disrupted, death could flow all the way up the food chain, through tuna and cod to marine mammals and Homo sapiens. As more than half the world's population depends on food from the sea for its survival, this is no exaggeration.
We've only really known about this ocean acidificationa effect for five years, but the data are nonetheless undeniable.
Given that reality -- and the lack of deniers -- we have an opportunity to recalibrate and repromote the reality of what we're doing to the world, by refocusing the promotional, viral, water-cooler energy not just on the functionally undeniable reality of anthropogenic climate change -- but also on the undeniable reality of ocean acidification, which is a greater direct threat to half the world's population.
It may be too late to stop some acidification. But the worst awfulness of a dead worldwide ocean -- where the phytoplankton have been acidified to death, so there's no food for the planktivorous fish, which are at the "topsoil" level of the food chain, thereby creating an ocean death spiral of ecosystem collapse.
But we can perhaps mitigate it, so that the ocean, in the next century, has a chance to recover.
I'm frightened by the reality that the environmental Ponzi scheme of the last century (as even Tom Friedman recognized in the NY Times) has no "banker of last resort." We can't buy ourselves out of a collapsing ocean.
So tomorrow, at the water cooler, at lunch, during the huggermugger before a meeting begins, mention ocean acidification. Go read Girling's great piece in the TimesOnline, to be sure you understand it. Or take a look at 34 pieces from the last year on ocean acidification to be sure you have good background.
But let's get the word out. All hands on deck.
And let's get this undeniable, gut-wrenchingly scary meme out there in the world.
It matters far more than any bailout of toxic debt, or whether we're in a recession or a depression.
We're talking about survival of civilization as we understand it to be.