Sunday, November 16, 2008

T.H. Huxley on the ocean acidification lawsuit

Huxley's famous comment after reading the Origins of Species: "How extremely stupid not to have thought of that."

That's my thought after reading about the Center for Biological Diversity's threatened Clean Water Act lawsuit over ocean acidification. Unfortunately, they haven't put their 60-day notice of intent to sue online, but a petition they wrote last year requesting voluntary regulation by the EPA is available. For unfathomable reasons, EPA actually created a don't-change-the-ocean's-pH standard in 1976 of .2 units, but CBD says it's past time to update the standard, especially since we've already changed acidity by .11 units and could exceed .2 units by mid-century.

I don't know this part of the Clean Water Act all that well, but it seems like a pretty good lawsuit. I think it's even better from a climate communications point of view - ocean acidification isn't hard to understand, it doesn't take much imagination to realize bad things will come of it, and glibertarian reactions like "we'll just geoengineer our way out of global warming" don't address this issue at all.

We'll see what will happen to it. The notice was filed last week and has to sit 60 days before CBD can sue. I'd kind of expect them to hold off on litigation until Obama is in office and then see what settlement is available. If nothing else, it's one more bargaining chip in favor of stronger climate legislation.

The next lawsuit down the line should probably be for human production of biologically-available nitrogen. That would be interesting to watch.

UPDATE: Lawsuit filed on May 19, 2009.

UPDATE 2: Lawsuit settled, with EPA agreeing to evaluate whether to regulate acidification. Expect future litigation by good guys if they refuse, or bad guys if they take action.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.