Northwest Ocean Acidification: The hidden costs of fossil fuel pollution

By Jennifer Langston – Posted on Sightline

 Tiny sea butterflies dissolve before researchers’ eyes. Baby oysters die by the tankful. Sea urchins grow deformed. These are a few consequences of raising marine creatures in increasingly corrosive water. And they could preview what’s in store for the Northwest as carbon dioxide pollution from cars, power plants, and other human sources changes the chemistry of our marine waters, making them more acidic and inhospitable to sea life.

But this story of ocean acidification isn’t just about plankton and oysters.  Seafood is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the lifeblood of many coastal communities.  Increasingly acidic waters put Northwest jobs and communities in jeopardy.  While we don’t know the full scope of the impact  ocean acidification will have, there’s good reason to expect we’re already seeing the effects today.

Sightline’s newest primer explains:

  • The problem of ocean acidification.
  • What scientists are already seeing in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Potential impacts on species.
  • Risks for the region’s economy.
  • What we can do to avoid the worst of it.

By taking a look at how ocean acidification may affect one corner of our continent, we’re able to clearly see what’s at stake.