Norwegian scientists nearly, oh so nearly, found the answer to our climate change worries. They have just discovered that ‘tiny ocean plankton‘ could reduce global warming by soaking up unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide’.
It looked for a moment like the nay sayers might be right – no need to fuss about climate change because science will step in at the last minute, like it is want to do, and save the day. (I always think this is an odd belief coming as it often does from the people who spend the most time rejecting scientific consensus.)
All we’d need to do is fill the oceans up with lots of these little plankton and let them do their vacuuming trick, right?
Sadly, these carbonated plankton ruin the marine eco-system by acidifying the oceans (and presumably they also give whales gas).
“When plankton die and sink, their decomposition consumes oxygen vital to marine animals living in the depths. “This will enlarge the parts of the oceans that have very little oxygen,” [marine biologist, Ulf] Riebesell told Reuters.
In addition, plankton are food for other marine life and may be less nutritious with a higher carbon content.
“When tiny crustaceans were fed on the carbon-rich plankton, their growth rate and their reproduction rate decreased,” Riebesell said. He likened the shift to that from a healthy salad to a greasy hamburger.
And, given what we have already done to our marine life, it would be one step too far to inflict McDonalds on it too.