Copenhagen: Oceans in ‘uncharted territory’

The world’s oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate for millions of years, a major new United Nations scientific synthesis report says, threatening marine plants and animals.

The synthesis of more than 300 studies by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre says greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are forcing rapid changes in ocean chemistry.

The report warns a quarter or more of all marine species could vanish within a couple of decades.

Ahmed Djoghlaf, the convention’s executive secretary, said only urgent and rapid reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions would stop substantial and irreversible damage to ocean ecosystems.

“Attention must be given for integration of this critical issue at the global climate change debate in Copenhagen,” he said.

Carbonate ion concentrations in the ocean, crucial elements of marine life, are at the lowest levels for at least the last 800,000 years.

If, as predicted, ocean acidity increases by 150 per cent by 2050, the rise would be 100 times faster than any experienced in the marine environment for the last 20 million years, giving ocean life little chance to adapt.


David Williams, Stuff.co.nz, 14 December 2009. Full article.

1 Response to “Copenhagen: Oceans in ‘uncharted territory’”


  1. 1 PJ 14 December 2009 at 23:49

    What is the pH of the ocean today? 8.1 – not acid at all.

    What is the predicted pH? I havent seen these predictions. We have all seen prediction graphs for temps, but what about oceans? 7.8 pH? It’s hard to imagine that is a problem.


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