October 9, 2019
In case you run out of things to worry about, a new United Nations report tells us that climate change has already had such a devastating effect on the world’s oceans that future damage from rising and warming seas is now unavoidable.
Since 1970, the oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat generated by carbon pollution in the atmosphere, as well as the carbon dioxide itself. This has, in turn, triggered profound changes in oceanic chemistry: upper layers of open ocean are holding less oxygen and becoming more acidic, wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems.
Meanwhile, the frequency of marine heat waves, which cause massive die-offs of coral reefs and other ocean habitats, has doubled since the 1980’s.
Even if humanity is able to slash carbon emissions in the coming decades, the negative effects of climate change will continue. In the best-case scenario, sea levels will still rise by 1 to 2 feet over the next century because of melting glaciers and sea ice.
Oh, and by the way: Oil, natural gas and coal account for 81 percent of the world’s energy consumption. That figure has not changed in 30 years, despite the rapid growth of renewables such as solar and wind power.