Plastic and chemicals toxic to plankton will accelerate ocean acidification which could devastate humanity in 25 years unless we stop the pollution
19 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2021 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021
Date Written: June 5, 2021
Plants should be flourishing in these ocean waters with plenty of nutrients and inorganic carbon in the form carbonic acid. It could be possible the phytoplankton are missing key nutrients such as ferric, but why should this be happening now?
Over the last 70 years (since the 1950’s), more than 50% of all marine life, including plants and animals under 1 mm in size, have been lost from the world’s oceans, and that decline is continuing at a rate of 1% year on year. Atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves through the ocean surface to form carbonic acid. If there are fewer plants and animals to use this form of carbon, it will accelerate the ocean acidification process with the loss of more marine plants and animals. Over the next 25 years, pH will continue to drop from pH8.04 to pH7.95, and an estimated 80% to 90% of all remaining marine life will be lost from the oceans when compared to the 1950’s.
Even if the world achieves net zero by 2045, atmospheric carbon dioxide will still exceed 500ppm and ocean pH will still drop to pH7.95, it is inevitable. We must be clear that current net zero, carbon mitigation strategy will not stop the pH decline, nor the loss of most marine life. A pH drop to pH 7.95 will result in the loss of the life support system that makes Planet Earth habitable.
7 priority recommendations are provided to be considered at the end of the report, that focus on industrial and municipal wastewater; green chemistry; regenerative agriculture; plastics; petrochemical and carbon; atmospheric pollution and ecosystem regeneration. It is concluded that by choosing nature first we can reverse the damage caused by the chemical revolution. But in order to do so we must stop our toxic discharges into the land ocean and air.
Keywords: ocean, acidification, marine, climate, change, extinction
JEL Classification: Q54, Q56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation