Science has established the urgency of reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. If humans do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% from 2010 levels in the next nine years and eliminate them completely by 2050, the planet’s temperature will rise to 1.5° Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) above that of the pre-industrial period. This would have far-reaching effects on ecosystems and on humankind’s ways of life — effects that are already beginning to unfold. The conservation of whales plays a key role in the race to stop this planetary crisis, some scientists say. “Contrary to most terrestrial organisms, which release their carbon into the atmosphere after death, carcasses of large marine fish sink and sequester carbon in the deep ocean,” according to the authors of a study published last October in the journal Science Advances. This is an example of what’s known as “blue carbon,” and the principle applies to whales as much as to fish. Image courtesy of Patagonia PhotoSafaris. For decades, a large portion of this blue carbon, instead of coming to eternal rest on the ocean floor, has been released into the atmosphere as a result of people capturing excessive numbers of fish and whales. According to the study, fisheries have released at least 730 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 1950, about the same amount as 188 coal-fired power plants release in a year. These emissions come from the release of carbon in fish bodies into the air when they’re eaten or disposed…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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