A word of advice: Don't invite this man to your next cocktail party. But do invite him everywhere else, and get everyone you can to listen to what he has to say: That we're facing a massive spate of extinctions and ecosystem collapse if we don't avert course from our current emissions trajectory. The man being interviewed is Dr. Alex Rogers, Professor of Conservation Biology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and Scientific Director the International Programme on the State of the Ocean. And he's certainly not sugar-coating anything. He explains that we are indeed on the brink of major species extinction, because coral reefs are on track to collapse in the latter half of the century.
There are plenty of other crappy things that will lead to a loss in biodiversity in the world's oceans, but that's one that scientists are relatively certain will occur if we keep emitting greenhouse gas pollution at the current rate.
Peter Sinclair (our favorite climate denial de-crocker) points us to the latest grim study, which Rogers is referencing, as explored in Science Daily: "An international panel of marine experts warns in a new report that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history."
Here's what they found:
- The combination of stressors on the ocean is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth's history.
- The speed and rate of degeneration in the ocean is far faster than anyone has predicted.
- Many of the negative impacts previously identified are greater than the worst predictions.
- Although difficult to assess because of the unprecedented speed of change, the first steps to globally significant extinction may have begun with a rise in the extinction threat to marine species such as reef- forming corals.
In other words, unless we get our act together fast, the oceans are f@$&ed;.