[Coral-List] New paper in Science: "Contrasting futures for ocean and society from different anthropogenic CO2 emissions scenarios"

Mark Eakin mark.eakin at noaa.gov
Thu Jul 2 14:42:55 EDT 2015

If we fail to cap global warming the effect on the world’s oceans will be catastrophic, with far reaching consequences for mankind.

 A paper published in today’s Science magazine warns that an immediate and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions is required to prevent massive and irreversible impacts on ocean ecosystems and their ability to capture CO2 and absorb heat. As CO2 increases, the protection, adaptation and repair options for the ocean become fewer and less effective.

Impacts on key marine and coastal organisms and ecosystems from CO2 emissions are already detectable across various latitudes, and several will face high risk of impacts well before 2100 even with stringent cuts in CO2 emissions. Some of the greatest impacts are expected to be felt by coral reefs and bivalves, even if we keep the earth at 2°C of warming.

 The findings demonstrate the importance of the outcomes of negotiations at the Paris Climate Conference [ http://www.cop21paris.org/about/cop21 <http://www.cop21paris.org/about/cop21> ] also known as COP21, which is being organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [ http://newsroom.unfccc.int/about / <http://newsroom.unfccc.int/about%20/> ] later this year.

 The globally agreed ‘Copenhagen Accord’ goal of a global atmospheric temperature increase of less than 2°C by 2100 already carries high risks of impacts for warm-water corals and mid-latitude bivalves, but other risks for the ocean will remain moderate as long as we do not exceed this goal.

 Research leader Jean Pierre Gattuso, Senior Scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research [ http://www.cnrs.fr/ <http://www.cnrs.fr/> ] said, ‘The oceans have been minimally considered at previous climate negotiations; our study provides compelling arguments for a radical change at COP21’.

The paper Contrasting Futures for Ocean and Society from Different Anthropogenic CO₂ Emissions Scenarios can be read in full on the Science website [http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6243/aac4722.abstract <http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6243/aac4722.abstract> — attached]

This research is part of the Oceans 2015 Initiative, launched to provide COP21 negotiators with key information on how the future ocean will look. It is led by CNRS-UPMC and IDDRI and is supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Monégasque Association for Ocean Acidification.


C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov

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