Ocean Acidification is primarily caused by the burning of fossil
fuels. When carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ends up in the ocean it
changes the pH, making the sea acidic and less hospitable to life. Over
time, C02 reduces calcium carbonate, which prevents creatures from
forming shells and building reefs. In fact, existing shells will start
to dissolve. Oysters and mussels will not be able to build shells.
Crabs and lobsters? Your great-grandchildren may wonder what they
Carbon dioxide concentrated in the oceans is making seawater
acidic. Many of the zooplankton, small animals at the base of the food
web, have skeletons that won’t form in these conditions, and sea-life
further up the food chain – fish, mammals and seabirds that rely on
zooplankton for food will also perish. No food – no life. One billion
people rely on seafood for their primary source of protein. Many
scientific reports document that worldwide, humans are already
consuming more food than is being produced. The implications are
The issue of Ocean Acidification is causing irreversible loss to
species and habitats, and acidification trends are happening up to ten
times faster than projected. We want you to know what this means, how
it affects all of us, and what we can do about it.
Today, the atmospheric concentration of C02 is about 387 parts per
million (ppm) and increasing at 2 ppm per year. If left unaddressed,
by 2040 it is projected to be over 450 ppm, and marine scientists
believe the collapse of many ocean ecosystems will be irreversible.
Acidification has other physiological effects on marine life as well,
including changes in reproduction, growth rates, and even respiration
Tropical and coldwater corals are among the oldest and largest
living structures on earth; the richest in terms of biodiversity, they
provide spawning areas, nursery habitat and feeding grounds for a
quarter of all species in the sea. Coral reefs are at risk! As C02
concentrations increase, corals, shellfish and other species that make
shells will not be able to build their skeletons and will likely become
The good news is we can fix this problem. But, as you guessed, it
will be difficult. Ocean Acidification is caused by increased C02 in
the atmosphere. Solving one will solve the other. The House of
Representatives has acted, passing HR 2454, the Waxman-Markey “American
Clean Energy and Security Act”, but it was severely weakened. Now the
Senate has announced that it will move similar legislation this fall.
We need the Senate to join the House in its leadership, but to demand
far greater emissions reductions than were able to pass the House.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that in
order to stabilize C02 in the atmosphere at 350 ppm by 2050, global
carbon emissions need to be cut 85% below 2000 levels.”That’s a very
tall order! And the way our political system works (or doesn’t) makes
its tougher. It will take all of us to step up and take responsibility
to make this happen.
Here is what you can do: Contact your Senator now using ont of these techniques listed in order of effectiveness.
1. Visit your Senator at their local office. It is easy to make an
appointment. Tell them your concerns about C02 and the oceans, and to
move strong climate legislation immediately that will reduce our
greenhouse gas concentrations to levels that will not threaten our
oceans. The experience is rewarding. (Alternatively, drop a letter off
at their local office.)
2. Call your Senator and leave a message urging action be taken to
reduce C02, address Ocean Acidification, and move strong climate
legislation immediately that will reduce our greenhouse gas
concentrations to levels that will not threaten our oceans.
3. Click on this link to send an email, which will go directly to your Senator based on your address: http://www.oceana.org/acid
You may use the letter provided, but it is more effective to edit
it, and in your own words urge them to move strong climate legislation
immediately that will reduce our greenhouse gas concentrations to
levels that will not threaten our oceans.
Ocean Acidification is an issue we can do something about. We need
a groundswell of informed citizens to get Congress to have the backbone
to stand up to the entrenched interests of coal, oil, and gas and not
compromise on the reduction of C02. We also need real leadership to
aggressively create jobs using sustainable technologies. The choice is
ours. We can solve this or not. What we do know is that the future
facing our children, grandchildren and indeed all of humankind depends
on our decision.
Please join us in sharing this letter with others. We appreciate
your taking the time to contact your Senators; it is easy to do and
Thank you for your support.
Chairman, West Marine
Board Member, Oceana