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Tue 12 Feb 2019 02:10 PM

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Third of Arabian Gulf marine life could be lost by 2090

Scientists voice concern about future of biodiversity in the waters of the Arabian Gulf amid climate warming

Third of Arabian Gulf marine life could be lost by 2090
The shallow basin of the Arabian Gulf makes it especially vulnerable to warming, say scientists.

Over a third of the biodiversity in the waters of the Arabian Gulf could be lost by 2090, scientists have claimed as concerns mount about the future of its rich variety of marine species.

Researchers at the Climate Change Forum at the seventh World Government Summit also warned that oceans are heating up faster than previously expected, and the shallow basin of the Arabian Gulf makes it especially vulnerable to warming.

The high-level plenary hosted by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) was headlined by Dr M Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, and William McDonough, an architect, designer, thought leader, advisor and a globally recognised leader in sustainable development.

During the session, panelists stressed that oceans, already beset by habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution, now face the specter of climate change.

There is also widespread scientific consensus that if human behaviors and government policies remain as they are, oceans will lose the ability to provide the benefits people have relied on for millennia - food, livelihoods, and climate regulation.

The experts discussed efforts that need to be exerted to protect oceans and their products against the mounting pressure of climate change.

Sanjayan said: “We are a terrestrial species, but unless we preserve the ocean, we are doomed. International accords are calling for 10 percent of coastal and marine areas to be conserved through systems of protected areas. However, the conservation community made a bigger call to protect 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.”

He added: “Today, we are seeing that there is a rising commitment from governments around the world to protecting the oceans. Over 30 countries are willing to make big scale commitment to oceans. That is a unique opportunity to make a big leap forward in ocean protection, given that there is less than 5 percent of the world’s oceans protected now.”

McDonough said: “We live on a water planet, with 70 percent of the earth being covered with water. However, because of climate change, the atmosphere is contaminating the oceans with toxic carbon. Carbon from plastic is the most dangerous. That’s why we need to eliminate the concept of waste.”

Held annually in Dubai, World Government Summit serves as a global platform for leading voices from the private, public and non-profit sectors to discuss and showcase innovations, best practices and smart solutions to shape the future of governments.

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