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Low awareness of ocean acidification

19 November 2014

The results of a major new survey show that the British public has a very low awareness of the issue of ocean acidification, with around only one-in-five participants stating they had even heard of the issue. The survey involved interviewing over 2500 people across the UK. It was funded by the UK Ocean Acidification Programme (UKOA) and carried out by researchers from the Tyndall Centre and the Climate Change Consortium of Wales based in Cardiff University's Schools of Psychology andEarth and Environmental Sciences. Although many other aspects of global climate change are readily recognised by the general public, far less was known about how ocean acidification is perceived.

The oceans are currently absorbing large quantities of the carbon dioxide which has been emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. This absorption of CO2 is leading to a reduction in the pH of seawater – termed 'ocean acidification'. According to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ocean acidification is the hidden face of increasing global carbon emissions and poses a future threat to a range of marine ecosystems and the societies which depend upon them. The survey therefore concludes that it is therefore vital to engage the public in innovative ways, by changing the narrative about climate change and to emphasise this most important environmental risk issue.

The full report: Public Perceptions of Ocean Acidification

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