What are the potential long-term consequences of ocean acidification?

Over the next century, steady increases in carbon dioxide emissions and the resulting rise in the acidity of the oceans could cause most of the world’s fisheries to experience a total bottom-up collapse, a state that could last for millions of years. Ocean acidification threatens over 1,000,000 species with extinction–and the protein source for 1 billion people.

We’re also possibly facing destruction of the world’s coral reefs.

We don’t have all the data yet. The study of ocean acidification is in its infancy, and it’s been grossly underfunded in the United States, for example. But the facts we already know have scientists and fisheries experts running scared. Because, in addition to the corrosive effect of carbonic acid, the oceans’ ecosystems are facing a perfect storm of other threats: pollution, temperature changes, overfishing, and plastic debris. We’ve been using the oceans as a toilet bowl, and now it’s more than time to clean up our act.

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What is “ocean acidification”?

When we think about urgent threats to our environment, the images which come to mind are usually smokestacks and automobiles belching exhaust and smoke into