Putting the Acid Test on Ocean Acidity

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Man is responsible for carbon dioxide emissions of around 26 gigatonnes per year. The oceans have a total mass of 1.3 billion gigatonnes.  Even if all man-made carbon dioxide emissions were absorbed in the oceans (they’re not), there would be a rise in the ratio of oceanic CO2 by one part carbon dioxide to 50 million parts ocean per year, or one part per million per half century.  That is a very insignificant proportion – almost undetectable, certainly undetectable by marine life.  Even after fifty years, human emissions of CO2 would make no appreciable difference to the acidity of the oceans.  And yet, we are subjected to nonsensical “scientific” reports with emotive alarmist conclusions.  Like these two:

First, the report from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity  Incredibly, it claims that “Ocean acidity will increase by 150 percent by 2050, a rate of acidification 100 times greater than anything that has occurred in the last 20 million years. This will leave little chance for adaptation by marine organisms and cause the widespread dying off of the world’s corals. In addition, shelled organisms will not be able to survive the increased acidity, which will likely lead to a wide scale collapse of the marine food chain.  Ocean acidification is irreversible on timescales of at least tens of thousands of years, and substantial damage to ocean ecosystems can only be avoided by urgent and rapid reductions in global emissions of CO2.

Second, a report published by the European Project on Ocean Acidification.  It states that the survival of a number of marine species is affected or threatened.  The study predicts that levels of aragonite will fall by 60% to 80% by 2095 across the northern hemisphere.  Aragonite is essential for marine organisms to make their skeletons and shells.  Dr John Baxter, a senior scientist with Scottish Natural Heritage, and the report’s co-author, says “The bottom line is the only way to slow this down or reverse it is aggressive and immediate cuts in CO2.  This is a very dangerous global experiment we’re undertaking here.”

What?  We guilty humans are about to kill off marine life?  A rise in the oceanic proportion of CO2 by one part per million per half-century would not go within a bull’s roar of  doing the kind of damage these people are talking about.  It’s bloody insignificant!  So why have they published the reports?

Here’s a clue…

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is an international legally binding treaty that was adopted in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.  The Secretariat is institutionally linked to the United Nations Environment Programme, its host institution, and is located in Montreal, Canada.

The European Project on Ocean Acidification report was commissioned and funded by the European Union for the Copenhagen Climate Fest in December 2009, and presented there.

There’s your answer, in the names of the sponsors.  The United Nations and the European Union.  The reports were commissioned by the two bodies with the greatest interest in and the most to gain from causing public alarm and guilt over CO2 emissions.  They were commissioned with that specific aim.  And their conclusions are baloney.

P.S.  The reports are even sillier when you consider that not all the carbon dioxide emissions caused by man are absorbed by the oceans.  According to Skeptical Science (yep, the website that supports global warming), the oceans absorb only 6 gigatonnes net per year.  Humph!

P.P.S.  Sea water pH is somewhere between 7.5 and 8.4, depending on location and depth.  It is alkaline.  The addition of one part per million of CO2 in fifty years will make no appreciable difference to that.


Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity Report:


European Project Report, quoted in the “Guardian” article “Ocean Acidification Rates pose Disaster”, reporting on the Copenhagen Summit.


Skeptical Science on Human CO2 Emissions and the Carbon Cycle


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