CO2 Emissions Turning Oceans to Acid, Report Shows

Published by: The Claw on 3rd Dec 2010 | View all blogs by The Claw
UNEP-LOGO.jpg
CO2 Emissions Turning Oceans to Acid, Report Shows

A new study published by the United Nations Environmental Program shows that the chemistry of the world's oceans is transforming at a rate not seen in 65 million years.  The results, the study suggests, could include far-reaching implications on marine biodiversity and food security.

The study, "Environmental Consequences of Ocean Acidification," warns that some forms of oceanic life including coral and shellfish will struggle more and more to survive, as the increasing acidity of seawater shrinks the minerals those creatures need to form their skeletons.

The report's lead author, Carol Turley, said in a statement:  "We are seeing an overall negative impact from ocean acidification directly on organisms and on some key ecosystems that help provide food for billions. We need to start thinking about the risk to food security."

The report was issued during the recent climate talks in Cancun, Mexico and warns of another implication of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, which are already known to be a leading cause of global warming.  It says that nearly one-fourth of the world's CO2 emissions are absorbed into the oceans, where they are chemically transformed into carbonic acid.   The increasing acidification, the study says, will affect the growth and structural integrity of coral reefs, limiting the habitats of shellfish with long reaching effects up and down the ocean's food chain.

The Claw

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