CBD: Ground-level ozone

17 December 2008

In response to a call from the Convention on Biological Diversity  (CBD) for Parties to nominate new and emerging issues for consideration under the Convention, the  President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees of Ludlow, has written to Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary,  proposing that the impact ground-level ozone on biological diversity be considered
The letter draws on the Society's recent report, 'Ground-level ozone: future trends, impacts and policy implications'. One of the objectives of the report was to review what is known about the impacts of ground level ozone on biodiversity, and to evaluate the potential future impacts given trends in ozone precursor emissions.
The main points from our study that are of relevance to this submission are outlined below:

  • Current concentrations of ozone are already having an impact on terrestrial plants;
  • Most research has been conducted on plant and tree species of commercial value, very little is known about the impacts of ozone to biodiversity and ecosystems and very little research is being undertaken on this issue;
  • Globally ozone concentrations are likely to remain close to current concentrations, but in the rapidly developing regions, particularly Asia and Africa, concentrations are projected to increase;
  • Ozone is a potent greenhouse gas and also has an indirect radiative forcing effect on climate; with consequent indirect effects on biodiversity.