The Obama administration needs to start work immediately on a national plan to address ocean acidification.
The urgency of the problem was reaffirmed last week with the release of a new study that confirms the link between massive die-off of oysters and increased acidity in marine waters caused by carbon dioxide emissions.
The study, published in the scientific journal “Limnology and Oceanography” showed that baby oysters have difficulty growing shells and living in corrosive waters. For the past several years, some of the Pacific Northwest’s largest commercial shellfish farms have seen oyster production collapse by as much as 80 percent.
The larvae of the Pacific oyster has become the latest canary in the coal mine, a harbinger of a marine ecosystem catastrophe that would have severe consequences, if allowed to continue.
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Stemming the tide of ocean acidification is a global challenge that links directly to the need to reduce the onslaught of greenhouse gases spewed into the atmosphere. Each day, the oceans of the world absorb millions of tons of carbon dioxide from cars, industry and other human sources.
The carrying capacity of the oceans is being exceeded. The high mortality experienced by baby oysters is just the tip of an unprecedented ecological disaster that requires bold action on the climate change front.