ISIS Report 19/08/09
Implications for Climate Change Policies
New research shows oxygen depletion in the atmosphere accelerating since 2003, coinciding with the biofuels boom; climate policies that focus exclusively on carbon sequestration could be disastrous for all oxygen-breathing organisms including humans Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
Threat of oxygen depletion
Simultaneously, oxygen levels in the world’s oceans have also been falling  (see Warming Oceans Starved of Oxygen, SiS 44). It is becoming clear that getting rid of CO2 is not enough; oxygen has its own dynamic and the rapid decline in atmospheric O2 must also be addressed. Although there is much more O2 than CO2 in the atmosphere - 20.95 percent or 209 460 ppm of O2 compared with around 380 ppm of CO2 – humans, all mammals, birds, frogs, butterfly, bees, and other air-breathing life-forms depend on this high level of oxygen for their well being  Living with Oxygen (SiS 43).
In humans, failure of oxygen energy metabolism is the single most important risk factor for chronic diseases including cancer and death. ‘Oxygen deficiency’ is currently set at 19.5 percent in enclosed spaces for health and safety , below that, fainting and death may result. The simultaneous decrease in ocean oxygen not only threatens the survival of aerobic marine organisms, but is symptomatic of the slow-down in the ocean’s thermohaline ‘conveyor belt’ circulation system that transports heat from the tropics to the poles, overturns surface layers of into the deep and vice versa, redistributing nutrients and gases for the ocean biosphere, and regulating rainfall and temperatures on the landmasses.
This dynamical system is highly nonlinear, and small changes could make it fail altogether, with disastrous runaway effects on the climate  (Global Warming & then the Big Freeze, SiS 20). More importantly, it could wipe out the ocean’s phytoplankton that’s ultimately responsible for splitting water to regenerate oxygen for the entire biosphere, on land and in the sea . Read the rest of this article here http://www.i-sis.org.uk/O2DroppingFasterThanCO2Rising.php Or read other articles about climate change here http://www.i-sis.org.uk/climateglobalwarming.php
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