No Emissions Cuts = No Marine Life
A new study has concluded that 90% of marine life will be at critical risk by the year 2100 if high level emissions continue to dictate climate change.
University College London were involved in the study. It has calculated that of the affected 90%, they will suffer issues within 85% of their natural range within the ocean. Which effectively means large parts of the oceans will be uninhabitable to their current diversity of marine life.
The projections are obviously extremely concerning. There will ultimately be very few places unaffected by climate change, but the issues will be more concentrated around the tropics.
Worst affected countries not to blame
As a horrible twist of fate, the countries that face the greatest impact are those that are centred around the tropics and may rely on marine resources for their economy and nutrition. They also generally speaking are the least equipped economically to deal with the projected impacts and perversely are the ones that have contributed the least towards climate change emissions.
The study was published in Nature Climate Change. It analysed nearly 25,000 species living in the top 100 metres of the water. Top predators were likely to be more vulnerable to climate change than those lower down the food chain.
More sustainable future needed
However, with the catastrophic projection also comes the flip side. If we tackle the issues and reduce emissions, we can reduce the risk for virtually all species. We need to move to renewable energy as quickly as possible to be able to create a more sustainable future for our oceans.
There is currently a high seas treaty being negotiated in New York which aims to protect about 30% of international waters by 2030. That would be protection over and above any individual country’s jurisdiction. That treaty could be crucial as there is not currently any way to protect species and their habitat across their full ranges.
We have a choice
Despite the outlook being bleak, the positive is that we still have a choice. We can make the necessary changes if there is a collaborative effort and desire to do so.