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Cut in Carbon Emissions Needed to Save Oceans

July 3, 2015
Environmental Protection

globeA new report by 22 leading marine scientists warns that only ‘immediate and substantial’ reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will prevent irreversible damage to the world’s oceans.

Published in the journal Science, the study group, led by Dr Jean-Pierre Gattuso, from the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche in France, say that oceans are heating up, losing oxygen and becoming more acidic as a result of CO2 emissions. Research shows that the oceans have absorbed nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide produced since 1750, leading to major changes in the marine environment.

Co-author Carol Turley of Plymouth Marine Laboratory explained: “The ocean is at the frontline of climate change with its physics and chemistry being altered at an unprecedented rate, so much so that ecosystems and organisms are already changing and will continue to do so as we emit more CO2,” she said. “The ocean provides us with food, energy, minerals, drugs and half the oxygen in the atmosphere, and it regulates our climate and weather.”

Ocean acidification has a detrimental effect on larval survival, and growth rates of marine organisms particularly those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons. The findings of the report are intended to inform the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December, when scientists will try to ensure that any global climate agreement includes measures to minimise the impact on the world’s oceans.

You can read a copy of the report HERE