Climate: UN report highlights ocean acidification

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels may bear a greater risk for the marine environment than thought, with wide-ranging impacts on reproduction, biodiversity richness and fisheries, a report at the UN climate talks here on Thursday said.

Each year, billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, are absorbed by the sea and are very gradually turning the water more acidic, according to the study launched by the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

In the coming decades, the consequences are likely to be felt throughout the marine food chain, it said.

Rising acidity levels have an impact on calcium-based lifeforms, ranging from tiny organisms called ptetropods that are the primary food source, to crabs, fish, lobsters and coral, it said.

The report was compiled by scientists from Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre in Britain, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, part of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

AFP, 2 December 2010. Full article.

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