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Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification research on One Tree Island in Queensland, Australia

David Doubilet/Getty Images

The cause of ocean acidification is clear: carbon pollution released by burning fossil fuels. NRDC is working to reduce carbon pollution while also pressing for quick and effective measures to better understand and mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification. While ocean acidification shares the same principal cause as climate change, it is a separate phenomenon that requires distinct strategies as well as independent scientific study.

This groundbreaking NRDC documentary explores the startling phenomenon of ocean acidification, which may soon challenge marine life on a scale not seen for tens of millions of years. The film, featuring Sigourney Weaver, originally aired on Discovery Planet Green.

Because we don't fully understand what's to come as the oceans acidify, NRDC has pushed for more funding for research and monitoring to help coastal communities and marine industries cope with the changes already underway. Congress recently increased the funding for ocean acidification research and monitoring from $6 million to $10 million, but even more money is needed.

In partnership with scientists and economists from other institutions, we recently completed two studies that identify human populations at risk to the growing threat of ocean acidification. The first assessment, published in the February 2015 issue of Nature Climate Change focused on vulnerable U.S. coastal communities in 15 states. The second assessment focuses on countries most at risk to the combined impacts of ocean acidification and global warming due to their reliance on healthy coral reefs for food, jobs, and storm protection.

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