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Scientists at UNESCO Forum Call for Action to Halt Rising Acidity in World’s Oceans

Marine scientists warn that coral reefs are in danger from climate changes and ocean acidification. Most ocean regions could become inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050 if atmospheric CO2 levels continue to increase, they say. (Photo : JoAnne Ford/IAEA)

2 February 2009: Over 150 leading marine scientists from 26 countries are calling for immediate action by government leaders worldwide to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions so as to avoid widespread and severe damage to marine ecosystems from ocean acidification. The call was made with the release of the Monaco Declaration on Ocean Acidification, which was developed by participants attending a UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) symposium on “The Ocean in a High-CO2 World,” from 6-9 October 2008, in Monaco.

The Declaration notes that levels of acidity are accelerating and that its negative socio-economic impacts can only be limited by cutting back on the amounts of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere. James Orr, UN Marine Environment Laboratory, a Monaco-based subsidiary of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), stated that “the chemistry is so fundamental and changes so rapid and severe that impacts on organisms appear unavoidable.” [UNESCO Press Release] [IAEA Marine Environment Laboratory] [Monaco Declaration on Ocean Acidification] [IAEA Press Release]