Waiting to tackle ocean acidification caused by climate change through yet-to-be developed geoengineering schemes will be too little too late to prevent mass extinction of ocean life, a new study concludes.
Cutting carbon emissions is the only way for oceans to recover from the devastating effects of climate change, according to the new research published in Nature Climate Change. While using deliberate, large-scale manipulation of earth processes to combat global warming has its proponents, intervening in the climate through potentially dangerous geoengineering technologies is unproven. And even if carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere, ocean acidification already spurred by CO2 will persist for centuries. This could cause mass extinctions of marine species, researchers concluded.
“Once the ocean is severely affected by high carbon dioxide, it is virtually impossible to undo these alterations on a human-generation timescale,” said Sabine Mathesius of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany.