The Ocean Is Suffocating, and It’s Our Fault

Jan 5, 2018

By Mindy Weisberger

Ocean “dead zones” — regions of the sea where oxygen is severely or entirely depleted and most forms of life can’t survive — are becoming more numerous, and scientists warn that they will continue to increase unless we curb the factors driving global climate change, which is fueling this alarming shift in ocean chemistry.

Even outside these near-lifeless ocean regions, rising global temperatures and influxes of nutrient pollution are throttling oxygen levels in the open ocean and in coastal areas, threatening communities of sea life around the world.

This sobering view of the “suffocating” ocean was described in a new study, published online today (Jan. 4) in the journal Science. The study is the first to present such a comprehensive evaluation of ocean oxygen depletion and its causes. And less oxygen in the ocean doesn’t just spell trouble for marine plants and animals — it could carry serious repercussions for life on land as well, the researchers cautioned. 

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2 comments on “The Ocean Is Suffocating, and It’s Our Fault

  • @OP – The study is the first to present such a comprehensive evaluation of ocean oxygen depletion and its causes. And less oxygen in the ocean doesn’t just spell trouble for marine plants and animals — it could carry serious repercussions for life on land as well, the researchers cautioned.

    . . . and as the blunders of Trump climate change denial continue to permeate the White House, as usual, other people retrospectively try to correct the ill-advised and unresearched stupidity!

    The administration of US President Donald Trump has exempted the state of Florida from controversial plans for offshore drilling for oil and gas.

    The plan has been junked in Florida over concerns about how it will affect the state’s delicate environment – and hence its huge tourism industry

    The reversal comes after vocal opposition from the state’s Republican Governor Rick Scott when the plans were announced last week.

    It is set to trigger further demands for exemptions from other states.

    “Such a quick reversal begs the question: Will the Trump administration give equal consideration to all the other coastal governors from both parties who overwhelmingly reject this radical offshore drilling plan?” asked Diane Hoskins, director of the Oceana campaign group, according to Reuters news agency.

    Maryland, South Carolina and Massachusetts are among states with Republican governors also known to oppose the Draft Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Programme (2019-2024).

    California’s attorney general was among several public figures who demanded similar exemptions for their states:

    The five-year plan was to open 90% of the nation’s offshore reserves to leasing from drilling companies.

    US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it would boost the economy and ensure US “energy dominance”, but environmentalists decried it as a “shameful giveaway” to the oil industry.

    It means some of the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s western coast will be exempt from drilling, but not all of it.

    Why has Secretary Zinke made this U-turn?

    “The governor,” he said simply.

    But Florida’s Democratic Senator Bill Nelson smelled a rat.

    Gov Scott is reportedly planning to run for an open US Senate seat.

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  • I see that Trump is still full of delusional ignorant double talk on climate, and thinks he can renegotiate the Paris climate agreement to accommodate the expansion of the US coal and oil industries!

    Climate change: Trump says US ‘could conceivably’ rejoin Paris deal

    President Donald Trump has said the US could “conceivably” return to the 2015 Paris climate accord if an agreement treated America more fairly.

    “It’s an agreement that I have no problem with but I had a problem with the agreement that they (the Obama administration) signed because, as usual, they made a bad deal,” he told reporters.

    “So we could conceivably go back in.

    Mr Trump stressed his administration’s commitment to environmental issues, “clean water, clean air”, but added “we also want businesses that can compete”.

    Ah! That “clean air and water” – derived from mine-waste dumped in rivers, the widespread pollution from the smoke-stacks of coal fired electrical generation plants, and the chemical run-off from intensive agriculture!

    “The Paris accord really would have taken away our competitive edge, and we’re not going to let that happen,” he said.

    When he announced last June he was pulling the US out of the accord, Mr Trump said he wanted to negotiate a new “fair” deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.

    He also said during the presidential election campaign that he wanted to help US oil and coal industries.

    No timescale for a US withdrawal from the accord has been given, although White House sources have previously suggested it could take up to four years.

    Meanwhile – back in the real world:

    In a separate development on Wednesday, New York City announced plans to sell off $5bn (£3.7bn) in fossil fuel investments from its $189bn public pension funds over the next five years.

    The city authorities also filed a multibillion dollar lawsuit against five major oil companies, seeking damages for “contributions to global warming”.

    New York City said the lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell would help fund protection against climate change.

    The lawsuit follows similar recent moves by a number of cities in California.

    . . . . .Where they will be needing funding to compensate for wild-fires and mudslides, among other things!

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