Copenhagen: As world leaders negotiate on
emission cuts at the Climate Summit here, an international
conservation organisation has underlined the need for
immediate reduction in carbon emissions to stall ocean
acidification and prevent mass extinction of marine species.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
has released a report "Ocean acidification – the facts" at the
UN Framework of Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Conference of Parties here to highlight the threats of CO2
emissions on the oceans.
It spells out the steps that are urgently needed to
stop acceleration of the acidification of the ocean.
"Increased release of CO2 in the atmosphere is making
sea water more acidic and is threatening ecosystems and
species precious for our food and economy. It is also reducing
the ocean`s ability to absorb CO2 and regulate climate," the
"Ocean acidification can be best described as the evil
twin of climate change," said Dan Laffoley, lead editor of the
guide, Marine Vice Chair of IUCN`s World Commission on
Protected Areas and member of Natural England`s Chief
The ocean provides about half of the earth`s natural
resources and humankind takes direct advantage of this through
our fisheries and shell fisheries. The ocean also absorbs 25
percent of all the carbon dioxide we emit each year, and
produces half the oxygen we breathe.
Various studies have said that ocean acidity has
increased by 30 per cent since industrialization began 250
"But if CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise,
sea water acidity could increase by 120 per cent by 2060 –
greater than anything experienced in the past 21 million
years. By 2100, 70 per cent of cold water corals may be
exposed to corrosive water," the report said.
"There is an increasingly real and very urgent need to
dramatically cut emissions. The ocean is what makes earth
habitable and different from anywhere else we know in our
solar system and beyond.
"Now is the time to act to minimise the impacts on our
life support system while we still have time," said Carl
Gustaf Lundin, Head of IUCN`s Global Marine Programme.
According to the Intergovernmental Penal on Climate
Change, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the
protective calcium shell of amoeba-like organisms living in
the Southern Ocean called foraminifera, a vital link in the
food chain, has fallen in weight by a third.
"Within decades," acidification could severely affect
biodiversity and fisheries," 150 marine scientists jointly
warned last January.