Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Coral reef. (USFWS/Jerry Reid)

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Trigger a Trillion-Dollar Coral Reef Problem

New UN report outlines threat of 'geologically unprecedented rate' of ocean acidification 

Andrea Germanos

Greenhouse gas emissions' impacts on the world's oceans have caused a growing and expensive problem.

The issue is ocean acidification, oulined in a Convention on Biological Diversity report launched Wednesday in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 12).

The report, An Updated Synthesis of the Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity, explains how the oceans' absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide has driven a change in ocean chemistry that lowers ph levels, meaning the waters are more acidic.

This acidification has increased 26 percent since pre-Industrial times, the report says, and it is occurring at a "geologically unprecedented rate." While the increase happened quickly, historic evidence, the report states, shows that recovery could take 100,000 years.

The executive summary states that "it is now nearly inevitable that within 50 to 100 years, continued anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will further increase ocean acidity to levels that will have widespread impacts, mostly deleterious, on marine organisms and ecosystems, and the goods and services they provide."

Tropical coral reefs will feel these impacts, because reefs are constructed of calcium carbonate, but the lower ph levels lower their calcification ability, making it harder for reefs to produce their skeletons. This is a great concern, the report states, as roughly 400 million people depend depend on them for their livelihoods.

Ocean acidification's impacts on coral reefs alone could trigger as much as $1 trillion in global losses annually by 2100, one study cited in the report found.

That does not take into consideration economic losses to reefs as a result of other threats, such as rising ocean temperatures or over-fishing, nor losses from ocean acidification's impacts to other areas like oyster hatcheries.

“When ecosystems stop delivering the way they should, they essentially deliver less services and less benefits. In the case of coral reefs, those systems are essential for people’s livelihoods in many regions of the world and they will be significantly affected,” stated Salvatore Arico, Senior Programme Specialist, Natural Sciences Sector at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The only solution to the problem of ocean acidification, the report notes, is to lower atmospheric CO2.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·

'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·

After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo