Scientists ‘Are Exaggerating CO2 Threat To Marine Life

coralsClaims that coral reefs are doomed because human CO2 emissions are making the oceans more acidic have been exaggerated, a review of the science has found. An “inherent bias” in scientific journals in favour of more calamitous predictions has excluded research showing that marine creatures are not damaged by ocean acidification, which is caused by the sea absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The review found that many studies had used flawed methods, subjecting marine creatures to sudden increases in carbon dioxide that would never be experienced in real life. –Ben Webster, The Times, 1 March 2016

“In some cases it was levels far beyond what would ever be reached even if we burnt every molecule of carbon on the planet,” Howard Browman, the editor of ICES Journal of Marine Science, who oversaw the review, said. He said that a handful of influential scientific journals and lobbying by international organisations had turned ocean acidification into a major issue. The bias in favour of doom-laden articles was partly the result of pressure on scientists to produce eye-catching work, he added. –Ben Webster, The Times, 1 March 2016

Scientific or academic scepticism calls for critical scrutiny of research outputs before they are accepted as new knowledge (Merton, 1973). Duarte et al. (2014) stated that “…there is a perception that scientific skepticism has been abandoned or relaxed in many areas…” of marine science. They argue that OA is one such area, and conclude that there is, at best, weak evidence to support an OA-driven decline of calcifiers. Below, I raise some of the aspects of OA research to which I contend an insufficient level of organized scepticism has been applied (in some cases, also to the articles in this theme issue). I arrived at that conclusion after reading hundreds of articles on OA (including, to be fair, some that also raise these issues) and overseeing the peer-review process for the very large number of submissions to this themed issue. Importantly, and as Duarte et al. (2014) make clear, a retrospective application of scientific scepticism such as the one that follows could—and should—be applied to any piece of/body of research. –- Howard I. Browman, ICES Journal Of Marine Science, February-March 2016

Roger Harrabin (BBC): Let’s just stay on ocean acidification for a moment, because scientists are very confident in saying that with the levels of acidity or alkalinity changing in the way that they are, it’s inexorable towards the point where this century we won’t see coral reefs existing in way they are, so the old boulder corals will be able to withstand the changes, but the branching corals that provide the shelter for fisheries will just disappear, so we’re looking at a major planetary ecosystem that looks like it’s going to disappear and you seem rather unworried about that.
Benny Peiser (GWPF): No, I’m no unworried about it. All I’m saying is that these kind of alarmist predictions of what might –
Roger Harrabin: But that isn’t alarmist –
Benny Peiser:  What? You’re saying a whole ecosystem is collapsing –
Roger Harrabin:  Yes, it’s alarming, it’s not –
Benny Peiser:  And that the science is settled and everyone is agreed, but that’s not true, it’s not everyone is agreed –
Roger Harrabin:  Well, can you tell me anybody who isn’t agreed with that?
The Oen University, 18th November 2015

As part of an `interview’ with me, New Scientist published a critique by five scientists of two pages of my book The Rational Optimist. Despite its tone, this critique only confirms the accuracy of each of the statements in this section of the book. After reading their critiques, I stand even more firmly behind my conclusion that the threats to coral reefs from both man-made warming and ocean acidification are unlikely to be severe, rapid or urgent. In the case of acidification, this is underlined by a recent paper, published since my book was written, summarising the results of 372 papers and concluding that ocean acidification `may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century’. The burden of proof is on those who see an urgent threat to corals from warming and acidification. –Matt Ridley, Global Warming Policy Foundation, 15 June 2010

Coccolithophores — tiny calcifying plants that are part of the foundation of the marine food web — have been increasing in relative abundance in the North Atlantic over the last 45 years, as carbon input into ocean waters has increased. Their relative abundance has increased 10 times, or by an order of magnitude, during this sampling period. This finding was diametrically opposed to what scientists had expected since coccolithophores make their plates out of calcium carbonate, which is becoming more difficult as the ocean becomes more acidic and pH is reduced. —Science Daily, 16 January 2016

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  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    If I interpret the beginning of this article correctly, some of the alarmist researchers subjected marine life to high levels of carbon dioxide in the laboratory. The criticism was that the carbon dioxide concentration was much higher than would ever be seen in real life.

    There is a second problem in this type of research even when done at lower concentrations. Anyone familiar with chemistry knows about buffers. Buffers stabilize the pH resisting changes either becoming more acid or more basic. A beaker of water without a buffer might have a change of 3 in pH when an acid is added. With the buffer, depending on the buffer, acid, and concentrations, the change might only be 0.1 in pH.

    The oceans are loaded with buffers. Thus, a pH change due to a certain exposure of carbon dioxide in the laboratory would not happen in the world’s oceans.

    Just to make things clear, a pH of 7.0 is neutral. Lower numbers are acidic, and higher numbers are basic, which is the opposite of acid.

    My graph from:

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2014/12/23/noaagate-how-ocean-acidification-could-turn-out-to-be-the-biggest-con-since-michael-manns-hockey-stick/

    ends at 2010 so I attempted to get the current ocean pH. This was difficult because every web site that I found was nothing more than a political advertisement for the warming alarmists. However, it appears today the ocean is at a pH of 8.1. My graph ending in 2010 showed a value of 7.9. That means the pH has become less acid with a change of 0.2 since then.

    As an example of the political nature of these websites, one is calling the current value of 8.1 as bad news because it is lower than 8.2 which it says is the very long term average. However, in the past 100 years, which includes decades before the significant build up of carbon dioxide, almost all values were below 8.2.

    Ocean acidification is the backup plan of the anthropological climate change alarmists. As the data continues to fail to support the predictions of disastrous warming, they plan to fall back ocean acidification as a reason to limit emissions. Yet, as with warming, the data does not back the case for acidification.

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    Amber

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    The alarmists don’t really care if their current scary story is true or not because they know the media will print what ever the global warming cartel tells them . They might get a six month run on the scary disaster before real scientists call BS but they can just launch another OH MY GOD we are killing the planet story . It couldn’t be easier .

    The big bad wolf is running out of puff
    and the little public piggy’s are tuning out .

    Time for a rebrand …isn’t global cooling a bit more scary ?

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    After I wrote my last post I realized I probably simplified the situation too much.

    Buffers in the true chemical sense of buffers have limited capacity and are easily overwhelmed. I should have stated that much of the Carbonic acid that is form when carbon dioxide dissolves in water will combine with minerals in the water. The over all effect is that of buffering.

  • Avatar

    Me

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    It’s called Alkalinity, David.

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    #4 Me 2016-03-01 18:02
    It’s called Alkalinity, David.

    “Basic” is a correct term for the opposite of acid.

    http://study.com/academy/lesson/acidic-basic-neutral-solutions-determining-ph.html

    However, “basic” may well be an obsolete term, or at least one that isn’t used that often. My kids give me a bad time about this as I pronounce L.E.D. as “lead”, which was once common, rather than “L” “E” “D”. (This is short for light emitting diode.)

    It is important for readers to concentrate on the meaning and not be distracted by the words that are used, so I will endeavor to use common terms.

  • Avatar

    Me

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    Yes the the oceans are basic, as opposed to acidic or acidifying, but the process you were describing above is Alkalinity.

  • Avatar

    Me

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