Killing whales has not affected the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, a WWF Russia official said on Friday.
"It is obvious that the dramatic decrease in the whale populations has greatly altered the world's ocean ecosystem. However, I don't think that whale hunting has had any major impact on the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere," Vasily Spiridonov, a consultant of the Marine Program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said.
The statement comes after Professor Andrew J. Pershing of the University of Maine, USA, argued on Thursday at the 2010 Ocean Sciences conference in Portland that whales, being the largest animals on the planet, are natural carbon containers and thus act like trees in a forest. Just as forest fires release carbon into the air as carbon dioxide, industrial whaling has returned hundreds of years of stored carbon to the atmosphere.
Spiridonov said that while there have been considerable emissions from industrial whaling, they are nowhere near the amount of carbon dioxide that is generally emitted in the simplest act of breathing.
MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti)