Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Campaign Calls for National Plan to Curb Ocean Acidification and Save Sea Life

Campaign Calls for National Plan to Curb Ocean Acidification and Save Sea Life

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity launched a campaign today calling on President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a national plan to protect corals, salmon, otters and other sea life from ocean acidification. Each day the oceans absorb 22 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution from cars and industry. Impacts on fisheries and ecosystems could be devastating.

“Our oceans are facing a profound extinction crisis, unlike any other in human history,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “Without help, the rich sea life we all value will be a shadow of its former self, and we’ll all be impoverished for it.”

As part of its new Endangered Oceans campaign, the Center is calling on the White House to direct the EPA to use the Clean Water Act to produce a detailed national action plan combating the acidification threatening ocean life and coastal communities.

The world’s oceans have already become about 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution as a result of a chemical change in seawater that happens when ocean waters absorb CO2 pollution that’s been emitted into the air. The rate of change in ocean chemistry has no precedent in geologic time. The last time seawater was so acidic, about 55 million years ago, there were massive species extinctions.

Today, ocean acidification is making it hard for animals such as corals and oysters to grow and survive. It’s also eroding the shells of tiny plankton that form the basis of the marine food web, which may result in large-scale problems up the food chain for sea stars, salmon, sea otters, whales and ultimately humans, many of whom rely on seafood to survive.

A conservative estimate of the damage our oceans will face from emissions-related problems—including impacts on fisheries, sea-level rise and tourism, as well as storm costs—amounts to $428 billion a year by 2050 and nearly $2 trillion per year by century’s end.

“The science is clear that our oceans face the prospect of collapse,” Sakashita said. “This is a human-caused crisis that can also be solved by people, too, if we act swiftly and powerfully. But national leaders must stand up and address the pollution that’s killing our oceans.”

In 2009 the Center for Biological Diversity sued the EPA for failing to address the impacts of ocean acidification in Washington state. As a result of a settlement, EPA acknowledged that ocean acidification is a water pollution problem that can and should be addressed by the Clean Water Act.

“This isn’t a problem that’s going to be solved by slow, incremental steps,” Sakashita said. “It’s time for the EPA to make a move: Develop a bold national action plan that ensures a future for our sea life.”

Learn more about our Endangered Oceans campaign, read a FAQ about ocean acidification and see profiles of affected wildlife and U.S. regions.

For more information, click here.

With restaurants and supermarkets becoming less viable options during the pandemic, there has been a growth in demand and supply of local food. Baker County Tourism Travel Baker County / Flickr

By Robin Scher

Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A technician inspects a bitcoin mining operation at Bitfarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on March 19, 2018. LARS HAGBERG / AFP via Getty Images

As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
OR-93 traveled hundreds of miles from Oregon to California. Austin Smith Jr. / Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs / California Department of Fish and Wildlife

An Oregon-born wolf named OR-93 has sparked conservation hopes with a historic journey into California.

Read More Show Less
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, was retired the following month. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By David Drake and Jeffrey York

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The Big Idea

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.

Read More Show Less