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Reader's view: Adding nitrogen oxides to oceans threatens life

A March 10 article in the News Tribune about the ability of the ocean to absorb nitrogen oxides from polluted air left the impression this is a good thing.

It isn’t.

Adding nitrogen oxides to an ocean already troubled by excess carbon dioxide, which creates carbonic acid, worsens ocean acidity, which has begun to damage the ocean food chain from the Washington coast to the barrier reefs of Australia. Worldwide, we rely on the ocean for 20 percent of our protein. Allowing any increase in ocean acidity would come back to haunt us — and deservedly so.

George Erickson


The writer is a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists ( and is past vice president of the American Humanist Association  (