Source: Esri blog
Author: Dawn Wright
It would be nice to focus on the heartening growth of marine protected areas (MPA) on this Earth Day. However, upcoming United Nations talks on global seabed mining provide a more urgent topic.
We’ve barely finished mapping this biodiversity-rich terrain, and already there’s an effort to exploit it. Research shows that seabed disturbances heighten emissions; estimates by conservationist Enric Sala and colleagues suggest ocean trawling releases one gigaton of CO2 every year. That’s more than the global aviation industry.
Now is the time to take a stand for strong stewardship of our oceans by pausing seabed mining, at least until we can do the scientific research necessary to ensure adequate protection of the marine environment.
We simply don’t know enough about how dredging and extracting minerals from the bottom of the ocean will affect ecosystems and emissions, but the environmental costs could far outstrip the economic benefits if we don’t have a sufficient understanding of the consequences.