Back to blue calls for urgent action to tackle ocean acidification

At an event entitled “Ocean Acidification: A Crisis in the making“, hosted by Back to Blue in Tokyo, Japan, on February 2rd, chairman of The Nippon Foundation Yohei Sasakawa, and chairman of The Economist Group Lord Deighton made opening remarks, inviting urgent action to tackle ocean acidification.

Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for Oceans, said, “In light of the biodiversity framework adopted at the end of last year, ocean acidification is an urgent issue. Today’s event is very significant. This year, the G7 meeting will be held in Japan, a maritime nation. I hope that Japan will show leadership in this regard.” Panellists included Steve Widdicombe, Scientific Director of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, a world authority on marine ecology, and Japanese fisheries researchers.

Back to Blue released its Ocean Acidification programme in December 2022. The publication focuses on the need to address ocean acidification and is based on insights and research provided by some of the world’s leading ocean scientists. The publication highlights how time is rapidly running out to avoid the worst effects of ocean acidification and the worst impacts of ocean acidification on marine life, livelihoods, and economies.

Ocean acidification occurs when seawater absorbs CO2 generated by human activities such as burning fossil fuels. More than a quarter of the CO2 emitted by humans into the atmosphere has been absorbed by the oceans each year, but CO2 emissions are now increasing so rapidly that the oceans are no longer able to absorb it. As a result, the chemistry of the ocean is changing, acidity is increasing, and the ability of many marine organisms to protect themselves, grow, and reproduce is weakening.

The publication highlights that if we continue on our current high-emissions trajectory, many marine organisms, including molluscs, pteropods (“sea butterflies”) and warm-water corals, will be at very high risk from acidification as early as 2050. The adverse impacts from the decline of such organisms on ocean biodiversity and marine food chains are likely to be severe.

Newsfile, 15 February 2023. Full article.

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