Pushed to the Brink: The oceans and climate change

Publication - August 27, 2008
It is a matter of serious concern that the oceans are being systematically degraded and are in decline. The most immediate and significant threat to the oceans is overfishing and destructive fishing practices like bottom trawling. But, global warming is also having a huge impact on the health of the oceans. We have a tendency to think of climate change in terms of its impacts on land, but it also has multiple negative effects on the oceans, affecting their ability to maintain their food webs and natural ecological functions. Can the oceans survive the onslaught of global warming?

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Executive summary: The world's oceans cover more than 70% of our planet's surface and support a rich web of life. Without our oceans, life on Earth would not be possible. They produce and regulate most of the world’s oxygen, water and water supply cycles; drive and moderate the world’s climate and weather; provide a substantial amount of the world’s nutrient cycling; and support most of the world’s biological diversity as well as feeding a couple billion humans – just to name a few of their important and life-sustaining functions.

"Pushed to the Brink" explores the connection between oceans and climate change. It highlights how the oceans are being negatively affected by global warming and points to alarming scientific data that shows how the world’s oceans are changing right before our eyes. It concludes with a ray of hope—marine reserves. Scientists believe that establishing more marine reserves around the globe will help protect the oceans from global warming impacts. Marine reserves will restore and maintain ocean biodiversity, enable a rapid and long-lasting increase in abundance of marine life, and reduce the probability of species extinction.

Num. pages: 8

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