web analytics

Too late

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, October 7th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment - Tags:

From The Guardian:

Arctic seas turn to acid, putting vital food chain at risk

With the world’s oceans absorbing six million tonnes of carbon a day, a leading oceanographer warns of eco disaster

Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years. The water will then start to dissolve the shells of mussels and other shellfish and cause major disruption to the food chain. By the end of the century, the entire Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic.

“This is extremely worrying,” Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso, of France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, told an international oceanography conference last week. “We knew that the seas were getting more acidic and this would disrupt the ability of shellfish like mussels to grow their shells. But now we realise the situation is much worse. The water will become so acidic it will actually dissolve the shells of living shellfish.”

“More carbon dioxide can dissolve in cold water than warm,” he said. “Hence the problem of acidification is worse in the Arctic than in the tropics, though we have only recently got round to studying the problem in detail.”

About a quarter of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by factories, power stations and cars now ends up being absorbed by the oceans. That represents more than six million tonnes of carbon a day.

This carbon dioxide dissolves and is turned into carbonic acid, causing the oceans to become more acidic. “We knew the Arctic would be particularly badly affected when we started our studies but I did not anticipate the extent of the problem,” said Gattuso.

His research suggests that 10% of the Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic by 2018; 50% by 2050; and 100% ocean by 2100. “Over the whole planet, there will be a threefold increase in the average acidity of the oceans, which is unprecedented during the past 20 million years. That level of acidification will cause immense damage to the ecosystem and the food chain, particularly in the Arctic,” he added.

“Scientists have proposed all sorts of geo-engineering solutions to global warming,” said Gattuso. “For instance, they have proposed spraying the upper atmosphere with aerosol particles that would reduce sunlight reaching the Earth, mitigating the warming caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide.

“But these ideas miss the point. They will still allow carbon dioxide emissions to continue to increase and thus the oceans to become more and more acidic. There is only one way to stop the devastation the oceans are now facing and that is to limit carbon-dioxide emissions as a matter of urgency.”

There is one week left to make a submission on the National-Maori Party changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme. Submissions close on Tuesday 13 October 2009. The Greens have a Submission Guide up. Please submit.

18 comments on “Too late ”

  1. roger nome 1

    I suspect that these scientists are simply part of a global scientific communist cabal that are working in concert to enslave good creationists in their evil socialist web, through the introduction of Emissions Trading Schemes.

    Ignore this post before it’s too late!

    • exbrethren 1.1

      No the ETS plot was started by 12 foot alien lizards to enslave the human race.

      If you’re going to subscribe to conspiracy theories at least make them entertaining.

  2. Out of bed 2

    also from the Guardian

    There is a section of society that stubbornly refuses to “believe” in anthropogenic climate change, despite a near avalanche of evidence urging them to “believe” otherwise. Their faith in the status quo of the fossil-fuelled economy is immovable, it seems. The evidence before them suggesting otherwise is a challenge to their own belief that a free-market, libertarian approach to life is the best way forward. And because they don’t like the smell of the solutions being proposed (by all means, let’s have that debate urgently), climate science is, therefore, judged to be a fraud, a conspiracy, a big lie being perpetuated by a left-wing cabal led by a cackling Al Gore or malevolent James Hansen. It would be laughable, if it wasn’t so serious an issue.

    Help yourself to be able to look your Grandchildren in the eye.. make a submission today

    • Zorr 2.1

      I don’t really feel that I can add much to the ETS submissions except to send in a letter saying something along the lines of “What are you doing you morons? Ignore the scientific community at your peril!”

    • mike 2.2

      “Help yourself to be able to look your Grandchildren in the eye”

      Will I really turn into a short-ass if I don’t make a submission?
      It does sound more probable than getting drowned by rampant ice-bergs…

  3. frog 3

    Thanks r0b for posting a link to our submission guide. This version of the ETS is a rort of the taxpayer on behalf of the biggest polluters. It turns polluter pays into pay the polluter.

    No matter how short, make a submission! The Committee members are not experts and don’t expect the submitters to be experts either.

    Use our guide, adapt it so that you speak for your own views and Have your say!

  4. Herman Poole 4

    As a non-devotee of Anthropogenic Climate Catastrophe I am far more worried about these sorts of issues along with toxicity buildups and habitat destruction than temperature and its effect. My beef with reacting to temperature as the first priority, is it will see more important issues fall of the radar or be sacrificed for temperature.

    Also I don’t (and I don’t think oil/energy companies necessarily do either, they’ll be happy to make money on anything) have a faith in fossil-fuels. I am comfortable with energy from any suitable source and we will end up using solar, wind, nuclear, tide, and energy from waste regardless of climate change.

  5. Bill 5

    That’s all pretty straight forward innit…as is the increased glacial melt rate and so on. But in a link to Media Watch from ‘The Standard’ the other day, claims abounded that reporting on climate change was too difficult due to its complexity.

    But then, anything beyond a cursory listen revealed the complexity was not in climate change but in the proposed responses to climate change, ie cap and trade etc and it was this complexity that was being used as an excuse to not report.

    Meanwhile, weather ‘events’, from banal ‘There was 2″ of snow in the South today’ to so-called ‘One in 50 year flood plain floods’ and whirlwinds are among the most popular and reported news stories.

    Why the disconnect I wonder? I’m not suggesting that every adverse weather scenario be put down to climate change, but I don’t think I’ve heard a single instance of a connection being made between weather and climate change on TV news when the report has been about NZ weather

  6. Herman Poole 6

    And neither should they because it’s not about day to day weather. It is the wrong route to go down whatever your position, don’t claim every hot day as climate change unless you want to be defending every cold day.

    The worlds foremost expert on hurricanes, Chris Landseas resigned from the IPCC due to the blatantly false and distasteful claims made about Hurricane Katrina being due to climate change.

  7. ieuan 7

    Any idea what the change in pH level for the Artic Ocean would be that they are predicting? How much change has there already been?

    And on what basis are the predictions being made? Best case? Worst case? Somewhere in the middle?

    The ‘six million tonnes a day’ how much is that greater than say 50 years ago?

  8. Ianmac 8

    I dimly remember a report that said that carbon dioxide was easily sequestered at the sea floor- until it reached a saturation point and then seas would then quickly reach serious acidic levels which would lead to wiping out of fish stocks on which a huge part of the population depends. This is serious stuff.

  9. Nick 9

    Yes, submit! Quickly! Because New Zealand can stop this by reducing its 0.02% of World CO2 emissions.

    • BLiP 9.1

      What did you do for the planet, gramps?

    • Ianmac 9.2

      An interesting but common position Nick. You reflect a “THEY oughta….” as opposed to “WE will…”
      I like the story today of the mobilescooter which couldn’t get in the McDonald’s door so the woman went round to the drive through. They wouldn’t serve her so she sat and sat and held up the traffic.
      She was ” I Will….” Nick would would have slunk away without realising the power of a grain of sand. 🙂

    • Clarke 9.3

      I seem to recall that New Zealand didn’t own a single weapon of mass destruction when David Lange stood up in the Oxford Union and said that nuclear weapons were morally indefensible. It may have even been that his comments didn’t reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals one iota. But it was important that our Prime Minister said that the mutual nuclear stare-down of the Cold War was unacceptable, and that as a country we were prepared to do everything in our power to change the status quo.

      In similar circumstances – an existential threat to civilisation that requires concerted global action – I can only compare the high moral ground of David Lange with your apparent moral bankruptcy.

  10. infused 10

    “The title of this article is unfortunate because, despite the process of ocean acidification, the oceans are alkaline and will not become acidic (pH lower than 7) even in the distant future.”

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Got a link to a peer reviewed article about that?

      You see, I’m reasonably certain that Carbonic Acid, which is what is being produced in the seas around the world as their CO2 levels increase, is, as a matter of fact, acidic.

    • lprent 10.2

      Another moronic line by someone who has no idea what they’re talking about. Filch that from CCD blog lines? It is stupid enough to be written by one of their PR idiots.

      The issue is that a lot of sea creatures use calcium carbonates (and other carbonates) in their exoskeletons. These provide a store for carbon in the oceans and is one reason why the human released CO2 hasn’t been rising as fast in the atmosphere as we have been releasing it.

      However the stability of carbonates in a liquid environment is pH dependent. Because calcium carbonate and most solid carbonates are alkaline, any liquid less alkaline than calcium carbonate destroys it. If the pH gets low enough (say by dumping CO2 into H2O and getting carbonic acid) – then a bloody great pile of carbon will get leach away far more rapidly than usual. Consequently there will be less sequesterment in the oceans of solid carbon, less food in a more acidic sea, and a feedback loop where an decreasing pH in the oceans will keep releasing more and more CO2 from fossil shells.

      Do you now understand how stupid your statement looks?

      Tell me – did you ever stay awake when you did science in secondary school? Perhaps you failed science in the primers?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago