Right Opinion

NY Times Article on Ocean Acidification: The World Is Doomed, Pay Us to Research It

Megan Toombs · Jan. 7, 2016

The NY Times published an article entitled “Our Deadened, Carbon-Soaked Seas” that at first glance is very scary. The oceans are acidifying due to human carbon-dioxide emissions! We are hurting marine life, and ourselves in the process! Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! etc. etc. etc.

But upon a second read one notices sentences that include words and phrases such as “may,” “could,” and “almost certainly.” If the oceans are really in such dire straits, why would they use phrases that indicate doubt?

Is it because they know that many of the claims they are making are not proven at all?

Yes, shockingly that is the case.

An article by Tony Thomas in Quadrant (an Australian publication) entitled “The Fishy ‘Science’ of Ocean Acidification” reveals some very juicy tidbits about the goings on behind the scenes of this article, as well as pointing out some of the most obvious factual problems with the article itself.

The article is credited to Richard Spinrad, Chief Scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Governments Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Turns out the article was written by a NOAA staff member, but ghost writing is relatively common.

Thomas refers to Steve Milloy’s Freedom of Information request to NOAA on the emails relating to the NY Times article, and links to Milloy’s article and the information from the emails.

In these emails, a NOAA scientist, Dr. Shallin Busch, comments on the article before publication and specifically points out that there has been no harm from ocean acidification yet, and that they “don’t have any data sets that show a direct effect of OA (ocean acidification) on population health or trajectory.”

Now admittedly the authors had no say in the title of the article, or the ridiculous illustration the NY Times included with the piece, and, as can be seen from the emails, they didn’t care for the additional scare-mongering. But, the article itself, and the push for funding clearly shows a lack of transparency, and scientific ethics.

A more ethical article would have stated something along these lines: “we hypothesize that less alkaline oceans could create xyz issues, this is important for xyz reasons, and research funding is needed.”

Ocean acidification is an alarmist topic that has been easily manipulated because most people lack even a basic understanding of the acid/alkaline scale. To learn more read this informative article by Dr. Craig Idso.

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