VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) For National Independence and Socialism • www.cpaml.org
Climate warming threatens marine life
by Bill F.
A lesser talked about consequence of global climate warming is the disastrous effect this will have on marine life and the fish stocks that millions of people depend on for food.
Some scientists are saying that the warming of the oceans could threaten mass extinctions similar to those that occurred during the Jurassic Period more than 140 million years ago.
According to Professor Richard Twitchett of Plymouth University, “Global warming might well lead to the extinction of some marine species”, as this is what has been consistently demonstrated by the fossil record. As ocean temperatures rose, oxygen levels fell, and this resulted in species seeking colder waters and the extinction of some species altogether.
Monash University ecophysiologist Professor John Beardall is not so certain about extinctions, but is concerned about the effect on fish stocks. “Certainly marine ecosystems are under threat and increasing temperatures will result in less productive waters, especially in tropical and sub-tropical systems. So-called ‘dead zones’ are proliferating; especially where there is much nutrient run-off into near-shore environments… there are multiple examples in today’s oceans where oxygen depletion significantly affects marine life.”
Marine biologist Pamela Allen, from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, points to changes already taking place. “Global climate change will have a vast impact on marine life. This is not hypothetical – negative effects are coming to light every day… The effects on coral reefs are evident – warmer waters resulting from climate change are causing bleaching events on a massive scale.”
Furthermore, as climate warming causes oceans to acidify, the carbonate shells of species such as shellfish and corals become thinner. Warming oceans, combined with overfishing, lead to jellyfish blooms so large that fish populations cannot compete.
By way of example, she refers to the Antarctic krill which feeds on algae and sits at the bottom of the marine food chain. “As oceans warm and sea ice continues to melt, krill will lose this important food source and potentially decline,” Ms Allen says. “The effects of this decline could affect every fish, whale and seabird in the Antarctic. Coral reef declines will have a massive impact on all species that use reefs for shelter, food and breeding grounds.”
Global crisis of greed
Climate warming is a global crisis that threatens humanity.
At the centre of this crisis is the system of capitalism in its final, decadent stage of imperialism. It has poisoned the land, air and seas, disrupted weather patterns, created deserts, destroyed river systems and aquifers, and brought war and famine to millions – all in the cause of parasitic profits and the greedy few.
Certainly people everywhere should campaign and fight to force the polluting monopolies to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They should demand the establishment of conservation zones and marine parks to protect endangered species and food resources.
Ultimately, the best way to preserve humanity and open up a bright future is to bring about a modern extinction – the end of global capitalism.