Ocean Acidification: What Oceana Does

projected emissions

Oceana’s campaign to stop ocean acidification promotes the following framework of actions for policymakers, business leaders and the public to reduce carbon emissions and prevent disruptions to marine ecosystems:

Stabilize Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at 350 ppm

Governments must commit to stabilizing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 350 ppm or below. To achieve this, serious strides need to be taken within the next five years to set society on a path to zero net carbon emissions within the coming decades.

Promote Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Fuels

Energy should be conserved at every opportunity, including through improved fuel efficiency of cars, trucks, airplanes and ships, provision of cleaner fuels, investment in efficient mass transit and individual, institutional and corporate actions to reduce energy use.

Shift to Alternative Energy Sources

New or expanded coal-fired power plants and other expanded uses of coal should be prohibited until global warming pollution can be trapped and safely stored. In their place, governments and the private sector should implement programs to stimulate the development and use of renewable energy options such as offshore wind and solar, and invest in upgrading the national power transmission grid so that energy produced from alternative sources can be cost-effectively moved to markets.

Governments should immediately eliminate any and all subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels that are currently in the ground in sensitive ecosystems, such as the Arctic and offshore, should stay in the ground.

Regulate Carbon Releases

Governments should immediately begin regulating carbon releases using a system that internalizes the cost of emissions and prevents continued releases that harm the oceans. Under or non-regulated sources of carbon dioxide emissions, such as those from shipping and aircraft, should be included in a post-Kyoto agreement and regulated by the appropriate international bodies, such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Preserve Natural Resilience

The natural resilience of marine ecosystems should be maintained by curtailing other human caused threats, such as overfishing and pollution. Ocean acidification and climate change are not isolated threats, but act in concert with other impacts on ecosystems and species. Ocean ecosystems will have the best chance of surviving the pressures of ocean acidification if they are not simultaneously struggling to survive in the face of other threats.