Climate Change killing coral reefs at an alarming rate
The planet has lost an alarming 19 percent of its coral reefs, according to the 2008 global reef update.
The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network has just published its latest report at the climate conference in Poznan.
It warns many of the remaining reefs may also be lost over the next 20-40 years, if current trands in carbon dioxide emissions continue.
Some 500 million people depend on coral reefs for their livelihood.
Coral reefs are threatened by several factors. Climate change is considered the biggest danger, with increasing sea surface temperatures and the acidification of the sea water.
Overfishing, pollution and invasive species are other factors putting pressure on coral reefs.
Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head of the Global Marine Programme at IUCN – one of the organizations behind the Reef Monitorin Network, says atmospheric carbon dioxide will double in less than 50 years if nothing changes. He warns the carbon will be absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic and damaging a wide range of marine life, from corals to plankton communities and from lobsters to seagrasses.
Clive Wilkinson, Coordinator of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, says the report details the strong scientific concensus that climate change must be limited to the absolute minimum. If nothing is done to cut emissions substantially, he says, we could effectively lose coral reefs as we know them, with major coral extinctions.
Download the briefing paper:
On Indian Ocean research and development. See CORDIO:
DateDecember 10, 2008 | 10:57 am