Just how bad is mankind’s impact on the oceans and people of the Earth?
A new report released Monday in Honolulu makes clear that ocean warming “is affecting humans in direct ways and the impacts are already being felt,” according to a summary.
Those effects apply to fish stocks, crop yields, more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases.
“We all know the ocean sustains this planet and provides every second breath we take, yet we are making the oceans sick,” said Inger Andersen, director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “And that’s what this report highlights.”
Andersen spoke at the Hawaii Convention Center, where the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress is meeting this week.
The report is described by IUCN as “the most comprehensive review available on the issue” of climate change’s impact on the world’s oceans.
Andersen said the report underscores the need for humans “to think of the ocean as a powerful ally.” After all, it absorbs a lot of the heat created by humans.
Dan Laffoley, anICUNadvisor on marine science and conservation, said the ocean “has been shielding us” from the harmful effects of global warming.
He described the report, which covers everything from microbes to whales and ranges from pole to pole, a “massive wakeup call.”
“We are disrupting the rhythm of life of the ocean,” he said.
Among the report’s recommendations is for countries to work together on reducing green house gasses.
“This is not something one country or one industry can deal with, and right now we don’t really see that global momentum,” said Carl Gustaf Lundin, the director of its Global Marine and Polar Programme.
This is in spite of progress with last year’s Paris accord and the agreement last week by the leaders of China and the United States to honor it.
Some reporters in attendance asked whether there was anything new in the report.
IUCN officials said there was not, but that it contained peer-reviewed material that was not available in the IUCN’s last report.
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