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Oceans under threat?

Talk Planet

Oceans under threat?

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Talk Planet is in Copenhagen to follow the UN climate summit. In this edition we are focusing on the oceans and the effect climate change could have on them.

Moetia comes from Tahiti and is in Copenhagen representing an NGO. She is particularly concerned about how healthy the oceans are.

“One thing that I would like to report to my people is oceans’ acidification. What can we do about it in the short term and long term?” she says.

Professor Mike Hirshfield is chief scientific officer at Oceana, a Washington-based non-profit marine conservation group. We asked him what could happen to the oceans in a high CO2 world.

“Quite simply the oceans are becoming more acidic, which means that things like coral reefs are going to be growing more slowly and we may even see them dissolving,” he said, adding that they could disappear completely:

“Within 50 years and certainly within a hundred years if we don’t change what we’re doing. With climate change and acidification we’ll have no coral reefs left at all.”

What about predictions of a collapse in global fish stocks by 2050?

“The scientific consensus is unless we change how we manage our fish, we’re looking at potential collapses around the world later this century,” affirms Hirshfield.

So does that mean we won’t have any more fish to eat in coming years? Hirschfield believes it is not out of the question: “It might only be a slight exaggeration to say that in 2100, unless we change how we manage our oceans, all we’ll have left is jellyfish.”

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