Ocean Currents

Ocean Acidification: States Taking Action


Ocean acidification is one of those big, scary problems that scientists have been warning us about for years.  Carbon emissions are being absorbed by the ocean, turning it more acidic – spelling trouble for oysters, clams, mussels, as well as corals, salmon and even sharks. We know that reducing global carbon emissions is key to solving ocean acidification.  The UN Climate Meeting in December was a resounding success, but what can people and states do, today, that will make a difference to their communities and businesses impacted by acidification?  Turns out, quite a lot.

There is no one size fits all approach, but my colleagues and I have been tracking the efforts underway, and have noticed that many states are sitting up and taking action.  In seeking to make local actions more achievable in other locations, we’ve complied and analyzed these efforts in a paper that was published today in Frontiers in Marine Policy.

Actions to tackle acidification range from relatively straightforward and simple to the politically challenging. Holding information exchanges between scientists, managers, shellfish growers and fishermen to discuss the current understanding of acidification’s local impacts is one example.  Publicly calling for an increased investment of research and water quality monitoring is another.  Strengthening regulations on nitrogen runoff pollution or directly cutting carbon emissions at the local level are trickier options, but the suite of options explored here show that action is possible. And by taking action, we can protect our coastal communities, businesses and livelihoods.

Click below to explore how states from Maine to Alaska, Florida to Oregon, are tackling ocean acidification.

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