Climate Craziness of the Week: Center for Biological Diversity petitions EPA to list CO2 as a ‘toxic substance’

thescream-co2
From the “everybody breathes out poison” department. WUWT reader “Hell_Is_Like_Newark” writes:

The Center for Biological Diversity has issued a petition to get CO2 listed as a toxic substance.  CO2 will join the ranks of dioxin, cyanide, etc.

For Immediate Release, June 30, 2015

 

Legal Petition Urges EPA to Save Sea Life, Regulate CO2 as Toxic Substance

WASHINGTON— With the world’s oceans and sea life facing an unprecedented crisis from ocean acidification, the Center for Biological Diversity and former Environmental Protection Agency scientist Dr. Donn Viviani today formally petitioned the Obama administration to regulate carbon dioxide under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The first-of-its-kind petition under the toxics act seeks widespread reduction of CO2 because it contributes to ocean acidification, driving the destruction of coral reefs and threatening nearly every form of sea life, from tiny plankton to fish, whales and sea otters.

“Time’s running out to avoid a mass extinction of wildlife in our oceans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “It may not look like a toxic chemical, but when there’s too much CO2 in the ocean, it turns seawater corrosive and dissolves the protective shells that marine animals need to survive.”

The oceans absorb more than 22 million tons of CO2 each day, and on average the oceans are 30 percent more acidic now than at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Harm from ocean acidification is already observable: It has killed billions of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest; severely dissolved the shells of pteropods, a butterfly-like plankton, off the coast of California; and impaired the growth of corals in Florida and the Caribbean. And with CO2 levels rising, the dangers to our oceans will become more severe.

“We’re asking the EPA to prevent ocean acidification now by regulating CO2 emissions under the same law that helped reduce the chlorofluorocarbons that were causing the ozone hole. We’ve solved big environmental problems before and our petition shows the EPA a path to take bold action and leadership to save our oceans,” Dr. Viviani said.

The petition seeks to regulate CO2 as a chemical substance under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which has been used in the past to regulate harmful chemicals such as PCBs and asbestos. The law requires the EPA to regulate chemicals that present an unreasonable risk to the environment and conduct testing for harmful effects of chemicals that are produced in large quantities. The novel approach of using the Act to regulate CO2 could complement other efforts to reduce the CO2 emissions that are contributing to ocean acidification.

Under the Act the EPA has broad authority to require polluters to reduce emissions, keep records, sequester or take back chemicals produced. There are many industries that are not achieving the greatest CO2 reductions available through energy conservation and existing technology, and EPA action under this landmark law could implement many cost-effective CO2 reductions.

“Future generations will look back and wonder why we didn’t do everything we could to save the world’s oceans,” Sakashita said. “Failure to act is a decision to let our sea life die off and disappear. We can’t let that happen.”

Source: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2015/ocean-acidification-06-30-2015.html

Note: A couple of commenters made some inappropriate remarks in comments, and a total of three inappropriate comments were removed, and one snipped with a notice due to it being a call to action to contact the writer of the press release. Because of that, I’m closing comments. The contact info published in the original press release has also been removed. Part of the problem had to do with formatting of the original press release, it contained the contact info and phone number right at the top. I reproduced it exactly as it appeared on The Center for Biological Diversity PR page.

For future releases, The Center for Biological Diversity might want to consider using the normally accepted formatting practice of ending the PR with a centered

### or a –30- (as is standard press release convention)

…and put that contact info AFTER those delineators at the end of the PR, which would signal users of the PR that the information contained after those are NOT part of the press release and not to be published.

Apologies to Ms. Sakashita for any inappropriate comments and emails she may have received due to commenter making a call to action – Anthony Watts

165 thoughts on “Climate Craziness of the Week: Center for Biological Diversity petitions EPA to list CO2 as a ‘toxic substance’

  1. Has April Fool date been moved? Or is this another article from the Onion? There seems to be no other explanation for the idiocy. I just loved that “30% more acidic” touch. They can pseudo-science with the best of them.

    • Oh, I’d loooooooooooooooove to know what Vuk had to say. I bet its Ph was pretty low.

  2. Working out will soon be banned due to increased respiration. Only one child per family, the rest will be exterminated so that they do not exhale that evil toxic CO2.

    • I am already banned from working out. I made an “ummpff” sound when I was doing leg presses. That got me banned. Ummpff is a noise you make when you exhale while under physical stress, like working out. I thought it was the nannies who get nervous when men exert themselves. It must have been the GREEN nannies who didn’t like the poison I was emitting.

  3. Then they can list water as a toxic substance. That is the other toxic product of the combustion reaction after all.

      • That AND if it gets above 21% many combustible items might go up spontaneously

        At the least with an environment that is slightly more oxygen rich, combustion can be caused easier
        So Lets ban increasing Oxygen

      • The FDA have been warning people for years about the toxic risk from oxygen bars (sic).

      • Was that about the gasses that compromise the earths atmosphere? Gee whiz. One day you can light a smoke and the next you can vaporize the whole planet if you do. What is the world coming to? Tell me when the level of toxic and deadly co2 reaches the combustion ratio.

    • Too much water will kill you. So will too much salt, too much oxygen, too much food. Yet all of these are NECESSARY for life.

      It is the dose that makes the poison, and current CO2 levels are still way below the levels at which the earth was at its greenest and most verdant. We need more CO2, not less.

    • Water is toxic! Pure water is one order of magnitude more acidic than ocean water (if they consider moving to a lower PH “acidification.”

  4. This has got to be a spoof right? Three months late for April 1st.
    Even the name of the author has to be made up surely.
    Can anyone write this without laughing out loud?

    Steve T

    • I have no doubt EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, her staff, and the CBD have been colluding via private meetings and private emails on this petition for sometime in preparation for the US Supreme Court tossing out their mercury rules. It is how they have been operating since Obama took over and his political operatives moved into the appointed positions. The US Congress is about to cut the EPA’s budget by 8% next year. I would have cut it about 40%.

      • I don’t think cutting it 100% would be out of line. We have to recoup all those funds that were wasted on this climate change nonsense.

  5. So, if plants take in this toxic substance, it must make them toxic. We’ll have to ban plants as well.

    Einstein said he knew of only two infinite things, the universe and human stupidity.

    He was an optimist.

    • All plants will have to be arrested for possession and use of a toxic substance. Rehab centers are being set up around the globe.

    • “So, if plants take in this toxic substance, it must make them toxic. We’ll have to ban plants as well.”

      My son is way ahead of you. He refuses to eat the things.

      • My elder son’s reason for not eating green veg when he was 6 was that green was the colour (spell check doesn’t like the correct spelling how quaint) of ill people and you don’t eat them!

        James Bull

  6. CO2 a “toxic substance”.
    To what? Plants? Algae? Animals? People?
    We now have lead-free brass because of California-style regulatory nonsense. Are we now going to have a CO2 free atmosphere?
    This “screams” to reminded of this:
    http://www.dhmo.org/

  7. I must be dead. I have seltzer from my Sodastream every night. With extra toxic Zionist CO2.

  8. Just arrived in Anthony’s lovely town of Chico on our way from Washington state to Sacramento. Going swimming at Bidwell park with the family. I use to come here often as a kid when my great grandma lived here.

    Good to be in a place where there is good science nearby.

    Cheers Anthony!

  9. “Harm from ocean acidification is already observable: It has killed billions of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest;”

    “CORVALLIS, Ore. – The bacteria that helped cause the near-ruin of two large oyster hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest have been mistakenly identified for years, researchers say in a recent report.

    In addition, the study shows that the bacteria now believed to have participated in that problem are even more widespread and deadly than the previous suspect.

    Although the hatchery industry has largely recovered, primarily by better control of ocean water acidity that was also part of the problem, the bacterial pathogens remain a significant concern for wild oysters along the coast, researchers said.

    For many years, it had been believed that the primary bacteria causing oyster larval death in the Pacific Northwest was Vibrio tubiashii. Now, scientists say that most, or possibly all of the bacterial problem was caused by a different pathogen, Vibrio coralliilyticus, a close cousin that’s now known to be even more virulent to Pacific oysters.

    The findings were published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, by researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Rutgers University. The research was supported by the USDA.”

    I think it is important to go back to original source data when extraordinary claims are made about death and destruction from a political poison like CO2. Otherwise, we may not understand why some researchers are not truth tellers.

      • Well just change the name to something like A or b and that will fix the oyster problem.

        For the record, I think that eating oysters is a total waste of time, unless you are a reef dwelling fish like a “sergeant major”.

        It’s about equal to the French eating snails. Well come to think of it; why do I care what the French eat ?

        Now New Zealand green shell mussels; there’s something really worth eating.

    • We knew the runup to Paris was going to get interesting.

      The oysters were supposedly killed by a bacteria and not CO2, but your article mentioned “better control of ocean water acidity that was also part of the problem”. If it’s the CO2 in the air, how did they accomplish this? Or more likely, what was the local source of another substance that caused the water to become more acidic? There are no specifics as per usual with these activists.

      What about the butterfly-like plankton, the pteropods? What is the data on this? Any specifics?
      What about the impaired the growth of corals in Florida and the Caribbean. What is the specific data?
      Perhaps there are some stories out there on these two points that other readers have heard about?

      My guess is that they have no hard data to support any of their claims. But it doesn’t matter because the target of their press releases will never ask the hard questions. If they hear it, they will probably believe it.

      We need to educate the children in the proper use of their bullshit meters if we are to win this long term.

  10. I am not laughing. We already had Hump-day Hilarity. I hear this crazy stuff and 10 years later … well it is a fact don’t ya know. So this is yet the beginning of more bad news, bad research, bad science, and now, bad religion.

    No, this is not funny.

  11. We have been told that CO2 concentrations have varied over time from 180 ppm to 7,000 ppm. I guess at 7,000 toxic parts per million all life died out. Damn shame that happened.

  12. Where do they get these 25,30,35% more acidic claims from? Going from pH 8,2 to pH 8,1 (if true) is less than nothing on a logarithmic scale from pH1-14.

    • Snorre,
      The pH scale is indeed logarithmic, but not scaled over the 1-14 range as you appear to think.

      A change of 1 on the ph scale means a factor of 10 increase or decrease in the acidity/alkalinity.
      Thus a change of -1/10 on the pH scale is indeed an increase of 25% in acidity.
      See http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Acids_and_Bases/Aqueous_Solutions/The_pH_Scale

      PS. Don’t bother looking at the pH article on Wikipedia. They have twisted themselves into a pretzel to avoid saying that sea water is more alkaline than pure (distilled) water.

  13. The real culprit is oxygen. Without oxygen, no additional CO2 could be formed, and the oceans would be saved from the threat of devastating acidification. I say let’s get the EPA to classify oxygen as a hazardous chemical. Oh, wait – I forgot. Climate alarmists need oxygen to survive (and produce CO2 in the process).

    • If they weren’t so hypocritical they would ban the oxygen. Death bu holding your breath would be a noble response from them to CO2 poisoning of the world. Let’s encourage this line :)

  14. USA! USA! USA! We are in the finals!

    England vs. Japan in 3 hours … What? This is not the world cup thread? Well excuse me!

    I am thinking all that CO2 being expelled during a match must make the pitch a very toxic place! (see, I did work in a reference to the post at hand)

    :-)

    • Well it’s as relevant as the original “science”. Women’s football is as toxic to sealife as CO2.

      And sadly the Lionesses aren’t going to beat the World Champions.
      But they’ve done far better than expected anyway.

    • I seem to recall from way back, where some USA lady kickballer got famous by ripping her shirt off after becoming one of the four or five other lady kick ballers who also succeeded in kicking shootout “goals.”

      So who remembers the name of the real gold medal winner, who actually won the game, by blocking one of the Chinese shots.

      Oh now I remember; she wasn’t a blonde.

      • Briana Scurry made the save. It’s got to be a major kick in the pants that those pesky yanks can dominate a sport which is their 4th most popular yet the rest of the world treats like a religion. Probably has something to do with the fact that we actually encourage our girls to be athletes.

  15. “…on average the oceans are 30 percent more acidic now than at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”

    I’m genuinely curious. The pH scale wasn’t even invented until 1909, which means that presumably no one was measuring ocean acidity until then. So how do we know the average pH of the oceans before the First Industrial Revolution started in 1790? Or if they are talking about the Second Industrial Revolution, then about 1840?

    • “So how do we know the average pH of the oceans before the First Industrial Revolution started in 1790”

      Simple. I’d say on average the oceans where 30 percent less acidic at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution than now.. Who need to measure pH, It’s good to be the king.

      • Actually, if the oceans are 30% more acidic now than they were 200 years ago, then they were about 23% less acidic 200 years ago than they are now.

  16. The cult of CAGW is searching for a plan B. CAGW does not work as motivation to waste trillions of dollars on green scams that do not work if the planet is cooling.

    Ocean surface temperature anomalies indicates the start of large area cooling in the Pacific Ocean, following the same pattern as recent cooling in the Atlantic ocean. The Pacific Ocean cooling started in the far east and is gradually moving west.

    Big surprise, the planet abruptly cools when there is an interrupt to the solar cycle.

    P.S. Leif are watching the solar parameters? There is now an obvious quarter by quarter change. You also need a plan B.

    As TSI has not changed and as the first cooling is high latitude regions (now both poles, no cooling in tropical regions however there will be an end to El Niño events, the past global warming was not global it was high latitude regions), the sun is causing the cooling via an unknown mechanism (not TSI, the sun is not getting hotter or colder) or more accurately a solar change that was inhibiting the solar modulation of planetary cloud cover (low level and cirrus) is now abating.


  17. It’s toxic in extremely high levels (as when released by lakes, at the bottom of large empty tanks, etc.) but what we’re talking about is atmospheric levels which are not a danger to anyone’s health. They have to play word games in order to find it dangerous via climate change and then they play word games to say climate change is a danger. There is no basis whatsoever to find that atmospheric CO2 is a danger to us or the planet in any way, shape, or form.

    • There is an exception; the sudden release of stored CO2 from a large reservoir. (think sequestration…)

      • Yes, besides lakes and large tanks, if they ever start sequestering it, we’re in deep doo doo….

    • It is erroneous to label CO2 “toxic” even at 100% concentration. If it was toxic in any concentration dry ice would have been banned long ago. CO2 is heavier than air so any massive release from up-slope sources will result in the gas flowing downhill. If the resulting CO2 layer is thicker than your height, you die from oxygen starvation.
      Similarly, you can die from oxygen starvation in mines with high concentrations of methane. Ever hear of the canary in the coal mine?
      Also, try jumping into a grain bin filled with flax seed. You will sink to the bottom and drown. Again, oxygen starvation. Don’t do it!

      • Dry ice down the gopher holes.

        Now there’s an “organic” pest solution everybody could love.

        g

  18. we are what we eat, so if we eat plants, and plants are what plants eat, the plants are toxic.
    conclusion: eat beef!

  19. “….the oysters were bountiful and the mud floor was firm and pleasant to walk on. Then the shrimp arrived, and everything changed. Burrowing shrimp dig holes in the mud and live there. They pock the tide flats with a zillion holes, and today Sheldon, the 80-year-old eminence grise at his family’s small Northern Oyster Co., considers Willapa Bay a vanished world floored by “quicksand.”

    The shrimp began proliferating—mysteriously, like a plague of locusts—in the early 1960s. They dominated the bay floor where oysters lived,”

    Since 1960 the ocean acidified to destroy the oyster population? Well no. It the shrimp over there. Currently there are 64 varieties of oysters from the Pacific Northwest you can purchase…still.

  20. I don’t really like Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” very much, but gee whiz!, if you’re going to use (and deface) someone’s painting, shouldn’t his name be mentioned, at least in passing? Fair use, and all.

    The Scream is Munch’s most famous work, and one of the most recognizable paintings in all art. It has been widely interpreted as representing the universal anxiety of modern man.
    –Wikipedia

    Meanwhile, the Japanese family name Sakashita is pronounced sa kash’ ta.

    Since I have fair warning that Sakashita Miyoko is a nitwit, however, I will neither visit her page, nor spend any further time investigating what barmy nonsense she is peddling.

    Carbon dioxide is good. Those who demonize carbon dioxide are bad. Very Simple.

    • Sorry to disagree, but Much’s “the Scream” is truly awesome. It depicts perfectly the skeptic dilemma of doom and defeat despite the science. It’s kind of like the too numerous innocent prisoners sentenced to lengthy sentences and death who have ultimately been exonerated and released. The prosecutors were liars and crooks, but will never be held to account Nor will the scientist proponents of the green house effect (the original term/hypothesis I was exposed to in high school AP Biology in the early 1980s).

      • You’re free to disagree, of course, but as I see it, the only thing awesome about “The Scream” is that such a crappy pastel could fetch $120 million in 2012. Art is even more corrupted than climate science.

  21. This is the same group that has petitioned to protect the Edith Checkerspot (discussed here) , the emperor Penguin (discussed here http://landscapesandcycles.net/resilient-emperor-penguin.html), and polar bears (discussed here http://landscapesandcycles.net/blind-polar-bear-researchers.html) from rising CO2 even though those species have increased in number in recent years.

    They have alienated nearly everyone in my town of Pacifica, CA. The Sharp Park golf course was created in 1932 by building a dike that prevented the ocean from inundating Laguna Salada. Thus the lagoon became a freshwater marsh, which then provided habitat for the endangered SF Garter snake and Red-legged frogs. So unconscionably the Center for Biological Diversity has been actively trying to close the golf course, arguing golfers are endangering the snakes and frogs. Most locals see them as insane. Getting rid of the golf course and its dike would eliminate the very habit that allowed those endangered species to colonize this area.

    • Jim,

      As a golfer, I get it. A golf course is like a nature reserve and most club members care about their course and how it’s treated. Tools like the CDF have no concept of community responsibility and see humans as pests, pests that need to eradicated.

      If you play Jim, happy golfing, hoping I break 85 on the weekend 😎

      • I have a good friend who did civil engineering for golf courses and he battled the EPA endlessly. Their reclamation and wetlands regulations made him long to live in a Kafka novel. Absurdity was a step up from where these EPA dolts started on the ladder.

      • Craig I have to disagree, the reference by Jim is an exception (and true tere are also a few ecologically minded golf courses about) but as a whole golf courses are wildlife deserts. Pristinely presented golf courses generally clear out many native species of plant and animal and regularly import a few invasive non native species as well.

    • I played Sharp Park in 1997. Very enjoyable. Hardblieve it’s a muny.

      SF is known for excellent munies.

    • One ‘eco-system’ replaces another, when nature or man alters a landscape. A little bit of wisdom for any of the bleaters reading along.

    • Well Jim, maybe the garter snakes and red legged frogs are eating each other.

      How about the clapper rail and all those red foxes eating them.

      Well since the SF Bay coyote went extinct in 1943, there has been a need for something to eat those clapper rails.

      g > G

  22. You would think with Greece about to leave, or be booted (take your pick) the EU and a host of other countries soon to default on their debts, you would think there are greater concerns in this world then the non-existent problem of ocean alkalinity reductions (if they exist).

    It beggars belief that incompetent people in charge making irrational decisions about benign issues such as global warming when there is every possibility of a tsunami of economic refugees landing in America, Australia, Great Britian etc causing massive social upheaval.

    At this point, do you think anybody will give a #### about climate change?

    • M. Armstrong stated he had a copy of a letter where Greece has now accepted the demands of the Troika. But, he didn’t provide a link or post a copy of the letter.

      • doubtful as the referendum is not until Sunday when the people will decide whether to accept the rescue package or not

  23. “Future generations will look back and wonder …”
    good to know there will be future generations – she missed a lick

  24. So the greening of the Earth must then be made to stop since it is a driver of the increasing CO2 exhaling fauna eating all that global warming flora. I am guessing the Medieval Warm Period was Insect City in otherwise frozen tundra. I don’t know how much CO2 insects exhale compared to humans but in my search of that answer I ran across a 1999 blatant piece of research who’s sole outcome was to ask for more money. I kid you not.

    http://faculty.ucr.edu/~john/1999/CoviellaTrumble1999.pdf

  25. I applaud their noble call. Why CO2 itself may not be very toxic, green plants use it to synthesize an amazing range of highly toxic substances. Let’s ban all plant toxins!

    • Right on George! Don’t stop there, Let’s Ban Plants! Stop them breathing out that hyper-poisonous Oxygen. They were responsible for the first Great Extinction, when all those happy anaerobic microbes gamboling around the biosphere were slaughtered by the outpouring of oxygen from those newcomers, the plants!

  26. The new meme ‘30% more acidic.’ Scary isn’t it, except that water at pH 7.0 is ‘30% more acidic’ than water at pH 7.1. But then again, most reporters, like politicians, have almost zero science education. The entire climate change industry is based on this fact.

  27. Expect more, more, more crap as Paris approaches; it seems they take this as a ‘Do or Die’ for this year to reach an accord. I’ve seen some completely ludicrous claims (increased prostitution, restless fish, etc.), but the Karl study and now this – extremes I couldn’t ever imagine.

  28. Instead of CO2 molecules floating about, picture molecules of climate cray. Climate cray molecules are humanity-hating and dangerous to humans as well as the environment. That is the poisonous substance, and fools like Miyoko Sakashita are spewing it everywhere.

  29. I was doing some research/calculations recently to explore the role of CO2 in acidifyng seawater purely for my own edification and found out something very interesting. Almost all the carbon dissolved in sea water is in the form of carbonate ion and bicarbonate ion. A lot comes from dissolving limestone as well as absorbed CO2. Now each additional molecule of CO2 that dissolves converts to bicarbonate and will also convert one carbonate ion back to bicarbonate which will lower the pH (carbonate is more alkaline than bicarbonate). In fact the carbonate/bicarbonate equilibrium is a strong buffer of ocean pH. So in principle, more CO2 dissolving means less carbonate ion, a falling pH and carbonate ions are what marine organisms use to make their shells. This is the justification for all the claims in articles like this one. BUT NOW THE KICKER

    In the deep oceans, because the pressure is so high and the temperature low the carbonate saturation level is very high and the deep oceans are undersaturated wrt to carbonate. As a result calcium carbonate is dissolving, the carbonate concentration is far higher than at the surface and the deep oceans are more alkaline than the surface.

    As this deep water slowly circulates back to the surface and the pressure falls, temperature rises. The carbonate saturation level falls considerably and the water that was under saturated in carbonate becomes supersaturated – the surface concentration in the oceans is about 5 times the saturation level due to this effect. As a result calcium carbonate is continuously slowly precipitating from the surface oceans and dissolving in the deep oceans. That means there is a boundary layer in the oceans above which calcium carbonate is precipitating and below which it is dissolving. It’s termed the carbonate compensation depth or CCD and defined as the depth in the ocean where the rate of precipitation matches the rate of dissolution. Increasing the CO2 level in the atmosphere will raise the CCD closer to the surface. Above the CCD carbonate is precipitating so marine shells made of calcium carbonate are not at risk of dissolving and indeed there is readily available carbonate available for shell formation. Below that shell forming marine organisms are in trouble.

    So what is the current CCD? Well at present its about 5km below the surface. I don’t know of any shell forming marine organisms living at anything like that depth. This sounds to me like yet another story with a vague kernel of justification but hyped and exagggerated beyond any resemblance to reality.

    • Michael,
      I’m trying to make sense of the carbonate situation, too.
      You allude to the fact that most of the carbon in the sea is carbonate and bicarbonate. I would express it the other way around; a lot more bicarbonate than carbonate at ocean pH.
      Very tiny fraction as H2CO3, carbonic acid.
      You say “a lot comes from dissolving limestone as well as absorbed CO2”.
      No doubt, limestone is constantly dissolving but where did the carbonate come from in the first place?
      CO2, right? How else would you get it?

      When you say that carbonate forms bicarbonate, I agree, but not that the pH of the solution is thereby lowered. That reaction gobbles up H’s and resists change in pH.
      As I understand it, corals and shell builders don’t use carbonate; they make it from bicarbonate, by pumping out protons. A thin protein covering over the shell protects it from exposure to H.

      As for the deep ocean, I’m pretty sure pH is lower than in surface waters, though alkalinity might be higher due to the basalt floor being basic.

      • Mebbe;

        Its a while since I studied the ocean carbonate cycle and my memory is not quite as good as I thought it was. You are right the deep oceans are more acidic. checking my earlier notes, deep water pH is around 7.6 while surface water pH is around 8-8.2. Carbonate concentration in surface water is around 260 micromolar whereas in the deep oceans it is only 80 micromolar but the dissolved CO2 level is much higher due to the pressure. As the deep water rises and the pressure falls CO2 bubbles out of solution and that causes more HCO3- to convert to CO2. Each molecule converting from bicarbonate to CO2 generates an OH- ion (or equivalently uses up a H+ ion) so the water becomes more alkaline (basic). As H+ ion concentration falls (ie: solution gets more basic) more bicarbonate will convert to carbonate which releases a H+ ion so as CO2 bubbles out of solution more bicarbonate is converted to carbonate.

        You are right in claiming more bicarbonate than carbonate. I calculated the ratio as 0.5% as CO2, 89% as bicarbonate HCO3- and about 10.5% as carbonate CO3=. Sure the limestone originally comes from absorbed carbon dioxide but there is a heck of a lot of limestone around and much of it probably formed while the earth was still cooling or in the very early days of the oceans and the climate and temperature in those days is probably a moot point.

        I have read the same comments about marine organisms forming carbonate shells by active processes (hydrogen pumps) and protecting those shells with a protein layer and I have no reason to doubt it. CAGW activists however claim the shells of these animals will dissolve in the more acidic (actually only slightly less basic) ocean waters and I was just trying to point out that if carbonate is precipitating its hard to see why the shells would be dissolving even without the protein coating. I note “Hell_Is_Like_Newark” points out that shelled organisms can be found around black smokers where the water is below pH 7 (acidic) which supports your points. It is what I would expect of living organisms – they often develop active processes which buffer themselves from their environment.

        When looking at my earlier notes I found two other items of interest. Firstly Ca++ concentration in surface water is 0.01 molar and the solubility product for calcium carbonate is 6.5*10-7 so the saturation level for for carbonate ion is 6.5*10-5. I calculated the equilibrium level for carbonate ion as a function of atmospheric CO2 as follows;

        Atmospheric CO2 pH [CO3=]
        280 8.3 0.000325
        370 8.2 0.000271
        400 8.17 0.000256
        560 8.05 0.000201
        800 7.91 0.000152

        (apparently the super saturation is stabilised by organic matter and the presence of magnesium). From the above it would appear even at 800 ppm CO2 the carbonate level is above the saturation level given 0.01 Ca++ ion concentration. The other issue I noted as follows;

        While the high levels of carbonate and bicarbonate in seawater stabilise ocean pH (negative feedback), changing atmospheric CO2 does have some impact. That makes ocean pH a proxy for atmospheric CO2 (along with temperature since the equilibrium constants do change somewhat with temperature). But the claim is that both atmospheric CO2 and temperature have been increasing close to monotonically at least since 1900 so ocean pH should have been falling monotonically since at least 1900. But as Mike Wallace has pointed out (http://joannenova.com.au/2015/01/oceans-not-acidifying-scientists-hid-80-years-of-ph-data/) ocean pH has been measured since 1900 and these measurements show ocean pH has been going up and down between 8.2 and 8 distinctly non monotonically. Does that suggest CO2 should have been going up and down rather than the steady monotonic rise claimed? Well there are wet chemical determinations of CO2 going back as far as the early 19th century and they do indeed suggest exactly that. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/07/25/beck-on-co2-oceans-are-the-dominant-co2-store. Modern climate scientists tend to dismiss as unreliable all the wet chemical measurements that show CO2 levels above 280 ppm but if ocean pH measurements corroborate atmospheric CO2 measurements surely that lends credibility to both.

    • I thought shelled organism can be found around black smokers, where the water is actually acidic?

      • Without CO2, there would be no shelled organisms:

        CO2 + H2O = H2CO3 (Carbonic acid)
        Removing a Hydrogen ion yields HCO3- (Bicarbonate ion)
        Removing another Hydrogen ion yields CO3 -2 (Carbonate ion)
        Adding calcium yields shelled organisms: CaCO3

        As long as there is sufficient calcium in the ocean, there is no problem.
        Any questions?

      • Are you suggesting we replace the carbon cap and trade shell game with a calcium shell game?

  30. Can I ask a question… even if it’s dumb??
    Well I will anyway…. As I understand it as water warms up it is less able to retain any dissolved CO2 and so releases it into the atmosphere… this mechanism is cited as on of the feedbacks adding to AGW and human caused CO2 in the atmosphere… SO heres my point … if the oceans are giving up their CO2 how can CO2 be causing a reduction in ocean alkalinity…
    Is this a case of someone wanting to have their cake and eat it???

    • Your question is far from dumb, as you are absolutely correct.
      The problem is that you have good logic skills.
      Not all of the CO2 added to the atmosphere over the past 100 years or so is from human activity.
      A significant (but probably unquantifiable) portion came out of solution from the oceans.

      Don’t quit your day job. You’ll never make a good climatologist.

      • Don’t quit your day job. You’ll never make a good climatologist.

        Oh, I don’t know. He might make a good one but he’d never be accepted into the “97% Club”.

    • Hi Sly;

      Things are not quite as simple as they appear at first sight. CO2 dissolving in water forms H2CO3 – carbonic acid. This can dissociate to HCO3- and H+ bicarbonate ion plus hydrogen ion. Its this dissociation and the released hydrogen ion that makes the water acidic. The bicarbonate can further dissociate to CO3= and a further H+. These two reactions are reversible (they can go in either direction) and are equilibrium reactions driven by pH. Now in pure water the pH falls rapidly as CO2 dissolves and the solution becomes quite acidic (down to pH 4 or so) severely limiting how much CO2 dissociates and thereby limiting how much CO2 dissolves. Sea water however has a lot of dissolved limestone (calcium carbonate) in it. The calcium carbonate dissociates to Ca++ and CO3= and some of this is converted bicarbonate which absorbs a H+ (or generates an OH- which ever you prefer) so that water in contact with limestone has pH around 10. Now as CO2 dissolves much is converted to bicarbonate with the hydrogen ion released going to convert a carbonate ion to bicarbonate (and in the process allowing more limestone to dissolve). Which is why rainwater with dissolved CO2 dissolves limestone rocks to form limestone caves. Thus much of the carbon in seawater may well have come from CO2 but it is no longer in the form of CO2, more in the form of bicarbonate. This continuous equilibrium between dissolved CO2, bicarboate and carbonate is called the carbonate cycle and is extremely important in stabilising ocean pH. The total Ca++ and Mg++ in solution is often termed the total alkalinity (nothing to do with pH just to confuse matters). If limestone is present, more and more CO2 can dissolve in turn causing more and more limestone to dissolve up to the saturation product of Ca++ and CO3=. In practice this can happen by rainwater absorbing CO2 which makes it acid and in turn capable of dissolving limestone in river beds on the way to the sea. Over long periods of time the Ca++ level in the sea slowly increases.

      The river water may well not be saturated wrt to Ca++ and CO3= but it accumulates in the ocean (more and more added while the evaporating water leaves these ions behind) until the saturation point is reached and then it starts to precipitate out of the oceans depositing limestone in the ocean beads. Part of the continuous cycle of dissolution transport and deposition that occurs in the natural environment. In sea water only about 0.5% of the dissolved carbon is in the form of CO2 or H2CO3. The rest has been converted to bicarbonate 89.5% or carbonate 10.5%.

      • wow very detailed answer, thanks.. so does that mean that co2 dissolved in the sea can be permanently removed from the carbon cycle??… what is the upshot of all of these equilibrium reactions? does the sea become less alkaline? or is it balanced out? and what effect does this have on the seas ability to absorb more co2? even if its warmer? if the co2 is taken out of the cycle then surly it cannot the be devolved from the ocean to acts as an amplification of anthro co2…

        still sounds like a whole lot of cake ownership/ consumption to me.

  31. Argh – She’s a lawyer…!!!…

    “Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Director, Senior Attorney, works with the oceans team to secure protections for imperiled marine life and ecosystems from threats ranging from global warming and ocean acidification to fisheries and pollution. Miyoko holds a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where she also earned a bachelor of science degree in conservation and resource studies. Prior to joining the Center, Miyoko was a local currency activist and sustainable agriculture advocate. ”

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/about/staff/

    • This is not “Climate Craziness” at all. These people know exactly what they are doing. An attorney working at an environmental organization. Expect this organization to get a big “research” grant from EPA. Then expect this group to follow up the petition with a lawsuit against the EPA. The suit will be a Guided Lawsuit of the “sue and settle” variety. The result is that the courts will order the EPA to regulate under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
      In doing so, the courts effectively grant power to EPA which was never granted by the Toxic Substances Control Act, or congress. The EPA has been expanding their power and reach like this for decades.

      Not crazy, dangerous.

  32. “CO2 will join the ranks of dioxin, cyanide, etc.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Laughable. These know-nothings are utterly ignorant of the most basic biological principles, much less the chemistry and physics that global warming is based on. Those are metabolic poisons, whereas CO2 is REQUIRED for the Calvin cycle.
    Yet skeptics will ultimately lose this fight and the policy argument in the US. Why? Kids are indoctrinated at very young ages into the global warming mind-set. Go and examine any state history text for grade schoolers and you will find extreme global warming predictions woven into the text. In fact, it’s everywhere throughout all subjects from the earliest ages and well into college, including freshman chemistry, physics and biology. Reinforced along the way by the media, politicians, Hollywood and popular culture, it’s not unreasonable to come to the conclusion that it’s a doomed fight.

  33. Well I can envision everyone wearing a mask that would calculate the amount of CO2 you exhale each day and tax those who produce more than the authorized limit. Million dollar athletes would of course pay the most but blowhard politicians would be exempt.

  34. Have you seen what happens when you put water, oxygen and salt on bare metal. Now that’s corrosive. Also drinking too much sea water is toxic because of the high amount of salt. Maybe they should add salt to the toxic list. it is proven that too much salt is toxic. At the same time, they should add oxygen to the toxic list as breathing pure oxygen is toxic – http://science.howstuffworks.com/question493.htm

    • Would that be more or less toxic than Perrier? (CO2 + (the dreaded) Dihydrogen Monoxide)

      • Beer is also mostly C02 + Dihydrogen Monoxide and to make it even worse, it contains the “chemical”/drug alcohol

    • In the eyes of extreme greens it does. In their eyes, humans are the source of all evil on this planet.

  35. If they succeed in getting CO2 listed as a toxic substance, will we all have to wear hazmat suits to avoid having someone breath toxic substances on us? Will plants be deemed unfit to eat if they were ever in contact with the toxic substance CO2? Will seafood be banned for being in contact in toxic ocean waters? The unintended consequences could be endless.

  36. Don’t forget borate, the orphan buffer. Repeating a comment I made on WUWT, “IPCC on acid. . .”, September 25, 2013:
    Neil Jordan September 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm
    Re Sabertooth says: September 25, 2013 at 11:43 am
    The pH ceiling of 8.3 is explained in Emerson & Hedges Chemical Oceanography, which also explains a pH floor of 7.6, also alkaline:
    http://courses.washington.edu/pcc588/readings/EH_IV_CarbSys.pdf
    This reference also includes borate buffering in addition to the carbonate and bicarbonate buffering that are customarily used to describe seawater buffering. According to Frankignoulle (1994):
    http://www.co2.ulg.ac.be/pub/frankignoulle_1994.pdf
    borate buffering accounts for 30% of the global buffering effect in seawater.

  37. That would be hilarious trying to explain to patients.
    “Sir were gonna start the inflow of carbon dioxide into your colon.”
    “Is it dangerous?”
    “Well… Uhh.. It’s a toxic substance..”

  38. Can you show Mr Briiliant, how water absorb CO2 from atmosphere? Do you know how much polluted water is drained to the sea every day? Do you know plants make food for us using CO2? many more in the email. And, what do you mean by toxic, CO2 or some other chemical? what about O2? increase the concentration of O2 to 25% in the atmosphere or decrease it to less than 14% and experience yourself what happens?

  39. Ocean Acidification sounds downright scary. And for those whose chemistry education ended with their K-Tel Chemistry set, the EPA most seem like such a benevolent guardian. I am reminded of the time I was home brewing a German Lager when my neighbor visited me in my garage. I was just getting my mash started, and I was performing an “acid rest” (an old brewing procedure used on malted barley that was not well modified). As I explained the procedure, me neighbor looked doubtful. For he heard the words acid and acidify an made up his mind that I was brewing some dangerous potion. Needless to say he never accepted my offerings of home brewed German Lager.

    I’ve even heard climate skeptics say that while they were very doubtful of AGW, they were very concerned about ocean acidification. I wonder if they would still be as concerned if we used the word alkalize?

  40. This is clearly Barmy !

    ahem …..

    Aquaculturalists will disagree vehemently.

    CO2 is extensively used to promote plant growth.

    CO2 System Basics
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/PIC/article.cfm?dept_id=&aid=441

    Freshwater Planted Aquarium Care and Maintenance
    http://www.liveaquaria.com/PIC/article.cfm?aid=100

    CO2 Basics for Aquarium Plants
    http://www.fishchannel.com/freshwater-aquariums/planted-tank/co2-basics.aspx

    Maybe somebody should send Obama and those
    folks on the EPA Committee, a Fish tank or two,
    and complete with a CO2 injection kit, Then they
    might learn about the real world of CO2 and water
    plants, fish, and so on ?

  41. Will we need toxic waste permits for marathons, 10ks, Olympics and other heavy exercise events? Or even excessive flatulence?

    • We can use “Farts” as renewable energy !

      At a small scale this has been going on in Britain.
      http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/fart-powered-vw-beetle-tested-in-uk/

      At a much larger scale is planned for New York !

      National Grid hopes to reap natural gas from the process of waste treatment overseen by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection in Greenpoint. National Grid’s proposed plan is to harness the gas waste produced by the processing of solid and liquid waste, then sell it back to customers in New York City as natural gas. If all goes to plan, we’ll be buying our own shit back from National Grid by September 2016.
      http://www.bkmag.com/2014/09/30/trash-to-gas-is-the-new-farm-to-table-national-grid-banks-on-waste-in-greenpoint/

      • A hog farm near me has a concrete area around the barn and the barn floor and pad around the barn drains to one of two septic tank like storage tanks. The waste (manure) is washed into one, after settling the water is pumped off. He then lets if “ferment” and runs a gas powered diesel generator for the entire supply of electricity for the barn. Alternates between tanks so that he has a constant source. In the winter, the waste heat from the engine bypasses the radiator and is pumped through the barn for heating.

  42. The old adage, “The dose is the poison” still holds true. Everything is a poison at some dose.

  43. The Center for Biodiversity is basically a scam by Big Transnational Finance/Corporatocracy to bypass the Republican/Democratic system.

    Apart from the money coming in from their corporate/NGO sponsors, they get paid to sue the EPA for not regulating something, who loses, then pays court costs back to the Center for Biodiverstiy.

  44. If the oceans were warming as the climate concerned claim, the oceans would be reducing CO2 by out gassing. The climate community is not really concerned by physical reality or rational thinking.

  45. You say CO2 is toxic and destroying the oceans, Miyoko?

    I’ve got a cure for that.

    You and all your fellow beievers stop breathing out CO2. Problem solved! (Particularly the problem of having to listen to y’all’s drivel.]

  46. I read through the Toxic Substances Control Act, and there is an opening to claim some kind of environmental harm from CO2. However, there is not much specific guidance on handling a chemical like CO2. The existing regulations under TSCA are for known carcinogens with documented health effects, like PCBs, Asbestos, Lead-based Paint, etc.

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