As greenhouse gas emissions rise, the world's oceans are absorbing larger amounts of carbon dioxide and becoming more acidic, an international panel of marine scientists said in January. Greater ocean acidity prevents reef-building corals from forming their carbonate exoskeletons and threatens the survival of other creatures that form shells, such as carbs, lobsters, and oysters.
The ripple effects on marine ecosystems could be disastrous, according to the Monaco Declaration, a statement representing the views of 155 marine scientists from 26 countries. The declaration urges governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dedicate more resources to understanding ocean acidification.
''The current increase in ocean acidity is a hundred times faster than any previous natural change that has occurred over the last many millions of years,'' the declaration states. ''Policymakers need to realize the ocean acidification is not a peripheral issue. It is the other [CO.sub.2] problem that must be grappled...