WHAT NRDC IS DOING
NRDC is tackling ocean acidification by targeting its causes, advancing our understanding, and providing support to high-risk communities.
At the Source
Rising carbon dioxide emissions are driving ocean acidification. NRDC is working hard to limit emissions from power plants, which are responsible for 40 percent of carbon pollution in the U.S., making them the biggest ocean acidification polluters. One of NRDC's core priorities is reducing the nation's dependence on fossil fuels by improving energy efficiency and transitioning to clean renewable energy sources.
Nitrogen pollution from fertilizers and leaky sewage systems can also contribute significantly to ocean acidification along the coasts. NRDC is fighting to ensure that the Clean Water Act addresses this problem by ensuring that the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus released into the nation's rivers, streams and other waterways has a measurable limit. We are also working to improve pollution controls employed by major "point source" dischargers of nitrogen like urban and suburban stormwater producers, sewage treatment plants, and industrial livestock facilities.
In The Water
Photo: David Doubilet / National Geographic Stock
The causes of ocean acidification are known, and the solutions are clear. Still, there is an urgent need for better information to help prepare and support vulnerable communities and industries. In 2009, Congress passed the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act to monitor the progression of ocean acidification and better understand how it threatens our nation's marine resources. Currently, this program suffers from severe underfunding, which is stalling its implementation. NRDC is advocating for increased support and commitment to this and other important programs that help communities plan and adapt for the future.
We are also working at the international level to enhance coordination of ongoing science around the world and to support the creation of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network.
In The Community
Photo: Benjamin Drummond / bdsjs.com
The first step in preparing for a more acidic ocean is to pinpoint which geographic regions and communities are at highest risk from ocean acidification. Together with Duke University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NRDC is leading a team of oceanographers, biologists, economists, and social scientists to conduct a 'hot spot' analysis for ocean acidification in the United States and around the world. This study is funded as one of the initial projects of the National Science Foundation's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC).