Ocean Acidification is a result of the excess production of CO2 due to human activities and our disproportionate use of fossil fuels as an energy source. About one-third of the man-made CO2 produced is absorbed by the ocean, which is about 22 million tons a day. Once the ocean has absorbed this CO2, it combines with the seawater to form Carbonic Acid. This has horrible consequences, the oceans pH has been steadily dropping over the past two centuries, the acidity increasing by 25%. The pH of the ocean was relatively stable at 8.2 over the past 300 million years, and the pH has now dropped to 8.1 in current times. That is a 0.1 pH unit difference, which may not sound like a massive change, but compared with 300 million years of stability it is a significant one. This change has occurred over a relatively short period of time which does not allow the marine organisms a chance to adapt.
This increase in carbonic acid directly affects the ability for certain invertebrates to form and maintain their calcium carbonate shells or exoskeletons. The species most affected would be corals, crabs, lobsters, oysters, shrimps, and many planktonic organisms. This would have serious repercussions on the marine ecosystems; coral reefs are vitally important ecosystems that are habitats to millions of species of fish and other organisms and acts as a food source to several species of fish and shelter to millions more. The deaths of the planktonic organisms would pose an even greater loss to the ecosystem because they are the basis of the entire marine food web, being the preferred choice of prey of everything from larval fish to whale sharks. Our food preferences would also be affected by the loss of shrimp, lobsters, crabs, and oysters; all of which are favorite seafood which supply millions of jobs each year. Even the fishing industry would be impacted because the deaths of the planktonic organisms will be reflected in popular sport fish species.
In order to prevent these losses, we must diminish or at a minimum significantly reduce reliance on fossil fuels and industries with high CO2 emissions. Therefore we must put more effort and money into the development of sustainable forms of alternative energy that can completely replace fossil fuels and address other sustainable aspects of our way of life. But until we can find that source, the government must work harder to use the forms of alternative energy are already available to us such as solar panels and wind turbines, to lessen our CO2 outputs. If we do not begin to make an effort to reduce our use of fossil fuels and other sustainable alternatives, the oceans will pay the price.