Half the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels is actually winding up the oceans, says new research published in the journal Science. And that's threatening the health of the oceans and the diverse organisms living there, say researchers.
This research presents a new twist in the argument over global warming and the burning of fossil fuels. Traditionally, governments and industry have only argued over air quality, but now we're learning that oceans, too, are heavily impacted by the release of carbon dioxide.
Presently, oceans are serving as a kind of carbon dioxide buffer, allowing humanity to get away with emitting far more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere without triggering runaway global warming than would otherwise be possible. But there is genuine concern over whether the oceans can continue to absorb as much carbon dioxide as they did in the past. As ocean temperatures rise, less carbon dioxide can be absorbed, which means more stays in the atmosphere. It's a self-reinforcing cycle that could initiate an explosion in global warming if human beings keep on dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at present rates.
The solution, of course, is to switch to a hydrogen economy where hydrogen and fuel cells, not fossil fuels, supply the fuel for automobiles, homes and cities. Solar power can also play an important role here, since solar is clean and renewable. Wind energy, tidal energy and hydroelectric power can all help nations reduce their emission of carbon dioxide. But only if nations are interested in preventing global warming in the first place. And right now, the U.S. doesn't seem interested in protecting the environment at all. In the U.S., it's all about profits and power, and paying for expensive systems that reduce carbon dioxide emissions isn't looked upon favorably by private industry.