If you are hoping that global warming from the burning of fossil fuels will make future dips in the ocean a little more comfortable, you are narrow-minded, to say the least. For if significant cuts in carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere do not occur fairly quickly, in as little as 15 years the oceans of the world face an uncertain future.
Actually, there is no Earth without the oceans–most of Earth, about 70%– is deep saltwater. Oceans regulate our climate and give us half the oxygen we need to live, as well as serving as a vast source of food and natural beauty. Though the oceans absorb lots of carbon dioxide (about 25% of it), the price of this sponge-like quality is that the oceans become more acidic on the pH scale and this rise in acidity has some negative effects on sea life. Here’s the Smithsonian’s explanation:
The pH of the ocean fluctuates within limits as a result of natural processes, and ocean organisms are well-adapted to survive the changes that they normally experience. Some marine species may be able to adapt to more extreme changes—but many will suffer, and there will likely be extinctions. We can’t know this for sure, but during the last great acidification event 55 million years ago, there were mass extinctions in some species including deep sea invertebrates. A more acidic ocean won’t destroy all marine life in the sea, but the rise in seawater acidity of 30 percent that we have already seen is already affecting some ocean organisms.
So, is the current government of the United States, a nation whose oceanic coastline is one of the largest on Earth, at all interested in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide the U.S. puts into the air and, eventually, the oceans? Not in the slightest. In fact, President Trump is according to reliable reports now preparing an executive order to push the Dept. of Interior to open up oil and gas leases in the Atlantic and Arctic U.S.-controlled waters. More oil and gas to burn into CO2 that adds to acidification and a greater risk of ocean/beach pollution should a spill occur. It’s what is known as a lose-lose environmental policy, or as Trump himself might put it, a HUGE win for oil and gas companies.
It’s the oceans and the life within, and we who need and appreciate them, that will be the big losers under the Trump administration. Call Congress today and make it clear you are NOT HAPPY with U.S. government inaction on global warming while making polluters happier. And for some immediate suggestions on how to personally help the oceans (even if you live in Missouri), visit this Oceana page.