- In death, whales carry the tons of carbon stored in their massive bodies to rest on the seabed, where it can remain for centuries.
- Whale droppings fertilize the ocean, producing large phytoplankton blooms that absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide.
- Scientists point out that helping whale populations recover from past overexploitation can help reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Science has established the urgency of reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. If humans don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% from 2010 levels over 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 human lifestyles – effects that are already beginning to manifest.
Whale conservation plays a key role in the race to stop this planetary crisis, some scientists say. “Unlike most terrestrial organisms, which release their carbon into the atmosphere after death, the carcasses of large marine fish sink and sequester carbon in the deep ocean”, according to the authors …
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