Salient to Investors:

The International Programme on the State of the Ocean said the health of the oceans is deteriorating even faster than had previously thought, and says conditions are ripe for the sort of mass extinction event that has afflicted them in the past. IPSO said the oceans have been shielding us from the worst effects of accelerating climate change by absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere, and though terrestrial temperature increases may be experiencing a pause, the oceans continue to warm.

IPSO said the oceans face a cocktail of threats more powerful than the individual problems themselves, including:

    • Being heated by climate change
    • Slowly turning less alkaline by absorbing CO2
    • Overfishing and pollution.
    • Dead zones formed by fertilizer run-offs.
    • Public and policymakers are mostly failing to recognize, or choosing to ignore, the severity of the situation.
    • Coral reefs suffering from higher temperatures, acidification, and bad fishing practices, pollution, siltation and toxic algal blooms.

Dan Laffoley at the International Union for Conservation of Nature said deferring action will increase costs in the future and lead to even greater, perhaps irreversible, losses.

Alex Rogers at Oxford University said past extinctions involved warming seas, acidification and low oxygen levels, all of which are rising. Rogers said fisheries may be recovering by better management in the US and Europe, but globally they are not, and while melting sea ice would increase fisheries near the poles, warmer waters in the tropics reduce mixing of nutrients and lead to lower production. Rogers said dead zones appear to be increasing though may reflect increased reporting, but no-one predicted the inability of fish to detect their environments properly due to ocean acidification effects.

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