Ocean acidity rising, U.N. group warns

Dec. 14, 2009 at 11:35 AM
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COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The acidity level of the oceans could increase by 150 percent by 2050 as waters absorb more and more greenhouse gases, a report released in Denmark warned.

A report released Monday by the Convention on Biological Diversity in coordination with the U.N. Environment Program and World Conservation Monitoring Center at the international climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, warned of dramatic changes to the ocean's ecosystem as atmospheric greenhouse gas levels increase.

The study said that ocean acidity could increase by 150 percent by 2050 as emission levels rise. This rate is 100 times faster than any level over the last 20 million years.

Oceans absorb as much as 25 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels. With deforestation and emissions on the rise, oceans are absorbing more and more greenhouse gases.

Ahmed Djoghlaf, the executive secretary at the CBD, said ocean acidification is irreversible, warning damage to ocean ecosystems can only be averted through a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Attention must be given for integration of this critical issue at the global climate change debate in Copenhagen," he said.

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