Ocean Acidification in My Front Yard

 

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This report by Charles Mandel titled “Global emissions triggering “permanent and alarming changes” in West Coast waters” explains that the ocean in front of my house is in serious trouble.

I’ve been frequenting this beach since 1960 and I can see the decline with my own eyes. What was once a diverse and abundant ecosystem is now almost a desert.

I’m sure acidification is just one of many negative pressures at play, but it is no doubt a very powerful force we should worry about.

What I found interesting in this report was its subtext of denial.

It starts out strong…

Changes to the ocean chemistry along the North American West Coast – including along coastal British Columbia – will have “devastating ecological consequences” in the coming decades if immediate action isn’t taken.

The panel said global carbon dioxide emissions are triggering “permanent and alarming” changes.

Then immediately shifts focus to economic harm, because of course the most important thing is lost jobs…

If unchecked, ocean acidification could “set off a domino effect of job losses throughout coastal communities, particularly in places where the fishing industry and coastal tourism provide the economic base,” the report noted.

Then subtly shifts blame for the problem to the Asians…

The acidification of West Coast waters originates with oceanic currents that transport the waters across the northern Pacific Ocean from Asia.

Without mentioning that we produce much more CO2 per capita than the Asians, doubly so if you count the coal the Asians use to generate the electricity they need to produce the goods that fill our Walmart’s.

Then they conclude with actions that should be taken…

Among other things the panel urges ocean management and natural resource agencies to exploring approaches that involve the use of seagrass to remove carbon dioxide from seawater; and identify strategies to reduce the amount of land-based pollution entering coastal waters.

These actions are sadly lame because seagrass was abundant and has mostly disappeared, presumably due to human pressures. And land based pollution is no doubt a problem, but a different problem. To reduce acidification we need to reduce the CO2 level.

Despite 20 years of good intentions CO2 is still rising because CO2 is proportional to human wealth, the population is rising, and everyone wants more wealth.

As usual, they fail to mention the only thing that might help, reducing our consumption and shrinking the global economy.

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