Friday, January 30, 2009

Ocean Acidification Gets More Attention

The groundswell of scientific and environmental concern over the increasing problem of ocean acidification gained further urgency today with the release of the Monaco Declaration. The Declaration, with a preface by Prince Albert of Monaco, was produced by over 150 scientists from 26 countries and expresses concern over the following problems:

-Ocean acidification is underway
-Ocean acidification is already detectable
-Ocean acidification is accelerating and severe damages are imminent
-Ocean acidification will have socioeconomic impacts
-Ocean acidification is rapid, but recovery will be slow
-Ocean acidification can be controlled only by limiting future atmospheric CO2 levels.

Interestingly, the declaration also mentions ocean fertilization and asserts that it would "enhance ocean acidification in some areas while reducing it in others still in its infancy." This statement should give those still pushing for further exploration into fertilization as a solution for atmospheric CO2 significant pause.

The Declaration proposes some common-sense solutions for the acidification problem, namely, that links between scientists and economists should be created so that the costs of action now and the costs of the impact of an acidified ocean can be adequately considered. We often hear about how "expensive" environmental solutions are as if there are no costs associated with pollution. For example, acidification could wreck most coral reefs by 2050, ruining tourism and fishing industries, not to mention altering a natural method of erosion control.

It's time to take ocean acidification seriously.

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