An international conference and workshop sponsored by leading environmental organizations dealing with our oceans released a shocking and disturbing report. The conclusion of the report by the International Programme On the State of the Ocean (IPSO) speaks for itself:The participants concluded that not only are we already experiencing severe declines in many species to the point of commercial extinction in some cases, and an unparalleled rate of regional extinctions of habitat types (eg mangroves and seagrass meadows), but we no face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation. Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean. It is notable that the occurrence of multiple high intensity stressors has been pre-requisite for all the five global extinction events of the past 600 million years.
What are the key factors that led to such a dire prediction? The report lists:
- Human actions have resulted in warming and acidification of the oceans and are now causing increased hypoxia.
- The speeds of many negative changes to the ocean are near to or are tracking the worst-case scenarios from the IPCC and other predictions. Some are as predicted but many are faster than anticipated, and many are still accelerating.
- The magnitude of the cumulative impacts on the oceans is greater than previously understood.
- Timelines for action are shrinking.
- Resilience of the oceans to climate change impacts is severely compromised by the other stressors from human activities, including fisheries, pollution habitat destruction.
- Ecosystem collapse is occurring as a result of both current and emerging stressors.
- The extinction threat to marine species is rapidly increasing.
You can read the entire report by clicking here