There is clear and unambiguous scientific evidence that documents how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is leading to increasingly acidic seawater. This phenomenon has been termed ‘ocean acidification’ and presents a real threat to marine organisms that build their structures of calcium carbonate and, by extension, the organisms that feed on and live among them.
Marine Conservation Institute is working with partners from the scientific community, political arena, and coastal fishing and aquaculture industries to address the emerging threat of ocean acidification and the impacts on the marine ecosystems upon which we all depend.
Reducing carbon dioxide emissions to zero overnight is highly unlikely, but working towards carbon dioxide reduction over the coming decades is imperative if we are to avoid the worst possible scenarios. The opportunity exists for creating innovative solutions for adapting to the problems associated with climate change and ocean acidification, gaining a better understanding of what society stands to lose (biologically and economically), and hedging our bets by protecting areas of the ocean most likely to survive the coming changes to our oceans.
This issue of Current highlights ocean acidification, a term used to describe the ongoing global scale changes in seawater chemistry caused largely by human combustion of fossil fuels. Ocean acidification will have severe consequences for marine life and humankind, and has been nicknamed global warming’s “evil twin.” The articles in this special issue focus on multiple facets of ocean acidification, including threats to marine organisms, economic implications for fisheries and ecosystem services, and policy options for mitigating negative impacts. Because the dangers posed by ocean acidification are so serious, responsible carbon policy must be implemented immediately at all levels of government and individuals must do their part to curtail carbon consumption, in the hope of safeguarding the future of our oceans.