01 July 2005

Ocean species at risk from global warming: scientists

Thousands of marine species are at risk from global warming because of acidification of the world's oceans, scientists said.

Britain's Royal Society said in a report that the seas were currently absorbing one tonne of carbon dioxide - the prime greenhouse gas, per person per year and were simply running out of capacity to absorb it.

It called on next week's summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised nations to take action.

"Our world leaders meeting at next week's G8 summit must commit to taking decisive and significant action to cut carbon dioxide emissions," society oceanic expert John Raven said.

"Failure to do so may mean that there is no place in the oceans of the future for many species and ecosystems that we know today," he said.

The Royal Society said the carbon sink-holes of the oceans were being overtaxed by the rising output of carbon dioxide from power stations burning fossil fuels, raising their acidity and with it the threat to life.

"Basic chemistry leaves us in little doubt that our burning of fossil fuels is changing the acidity of our oceans," he said.

"The rate of change we are seeing to the ocean's chemistry is a hundred times faster than has happened for millions for years."

The leaders of the Group of Eight Industrialised nations meet in Scotland for three days next week for a summit dedicated to eradicating African poverty and confronting climate change.

But the omens are not good.

The United States has been a reluctant participant on debt relief and extra aid for Africa, and still refuses to countenance aid for countries that condone abortion.

It has also stymied almost every move to even accept that global warming - bringing with it droughts, famines and floods threatening millions of people, is happening despite warnings from some of the world's top scientists earlier this month.

Source: www.abc.net.au


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