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Coral Reefs Doomed Even if Climate Conference is Successful

Coral Reefs Doomed Even if Climate Conference is Successful

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Even optimistic estimates for what might be achieved at December’s Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris will not be enough to save the world’s coral reefs, according to a Plenary session analysis presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Prague.

The left side of this photo shows a healthy reef at Heron Island. The right side shows an example of a degraded reef off Townsville after attack from Crown of Thorns and bleaching. (Photo from: EurekaAlert.org)

The left side of this photo shows a healthy reef at Heron Island. The right side shows an example of a degraded reef off Townsville after attack from Crown of Thorns and bleaching.
(Photo from: EurekaAlert.org)

Speaking to the world’s major gathering of geochemists, Professor Peter F. Sale from the University of Windsor, Canada, spelled out the stark choice facing climate scientists in the run-up to the Paris conference. Sale says that one of the aims stated for the COP21 conference states that the countries will take measures to limit the oceanic temperature increase to 2 degrees by the end of the next century.

According to Professor Sale, “even if Paris is wildly successful, and a treaty is struck, ocean warming and ocean acidification are going to continue beyond the end of this century.”

He further adds that the issue is getting important and serious at the same time. Going by the rate at which the corals are changing, Sale believes that soon it will be hard to find corals that existed during the 1960s.

“I find it very unlikely that coral reefs as I knew them in the mid-1960s will still be found anywhere on this planet by mid-century. Instead, we will have algal-dominated, rubble-strewn, slowly eroding limestone benches,” said Sale in a press statement.

Sale says that it is unlikely to save the coral reefs until some stringent steps are taken to lower down the carbon dioxide emission, reports the Science World Report. In addition, working toward the other threats to the oceans, including protection of the marine areas and reduction in pollution of the coastal water, could hopefully give a good chance to the coral reefs for survival.

“This is a global emergency, which requires us to decarbonise within the next 20 years, or face temperatures that will eliminate ecosystems like coral reefs, and indeed many systems that humans depend on,” said Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, in a latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report.

(Story courtesy of EurekaAlert.org.)

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