Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search
Go Green banner ads

Published on Friday, July 7, 2017

Last Chance to Save Coral Reefs

[FRIGHTENING]

Last Chance to Save Coral Reefs

After the publication of the Great Barrier Reef’s obituary, the public finally caught wind of what scientists and researchers had been sounding the alarm on for years: coral reefs are not dead yet but they could be soon. Unfortunately, while the obituary brought much care and condolence, it has done little in the way of action. And now we’re faced with only one solution for saving coral reefs around the globe: sticking to the Paris Climate Change Agreement and keeping global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

 

The State of Coral Reefs Right Now

There are 29 world heritage-listed coral reef sites. A recent report found that heat-stress caused by global warming had wreaked major havoc on all 29 sites. 13 of the 29 sites had experienced coral bleaching (a serious threat to reefs) more than six times since 1985. The worst bleaching events occurred in most recent years, from 2014 to 2017, as the earth’s temperature rose more dramatically. 21 of the 29 sites have had repeated or severe heat stress in the last three years.

 

In addition to bleaching, many coral reefs that suffer from coral bleaching also endure extreme weather, ocean acidification and pollution. Coral bleaching alone can take a reef 15 to 25 years to recover from. With the addition of other stressors, some reefs may never fully bounce back.   

 

The Great Barrier Reef

The most famous coral reef in the world is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef off the Gold Coast. It makes up four of the 29 world heritage-listed reef sites. The Great Barrier Reef has experienced some of the worst cases of back to back coral bleaching in recent years.

 

Australian researchers brought their concerns to the UN World Heritage Committee in 2016. They urged the committee to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” immediately. However, Professor Terry Hughes of the Australian Research Council revealed that the committee was not planning to take action on the Great Barrier Reef anytime soon. Instead, they planned to await a third outlook report from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority due in 2019.

 

What Happens If We Do Nothing?

If emissions follow their current patterns, 25 of the 29 global coral reefs will suffer from extreme coral bleaching twice per decade by 2040. These successive bleaching events would effectively kill most healthy coral and prevent the reproduction of new coral - essential to the reef’s recovery.

 

Recent reports have found that current local efforts to save the reefs are necessary, but no longer sufficient. Relying on local support is no longer enough. Jon Day of James Cook University and former director with the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority said, “We can’t just assume local responses are enough, and they must be augmented by global efforts too.”

 

How Do We Save the Coral Reefs?

The only way to save the coral reefs is an international effort against climate change. As a global community, we need to meet the target set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement: to keep temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

 

If we are able to reduce greenhouse emissions so that they peak in 2040, the number of affected coral reef sites would decline from 25 to 14. This would give the reefs an extra 12 years to recover from bleaching events. Professor Hughes explains, “1.5C or 2C degrees won’t be a particularly comfortable place for reefs – they will still see quite regular bleaching and they will be different to how they were 15 or 20 years ago – but they will be able to survive.” At this point, survival seems to be the best we can hope for.

Rate this article:
No rating
Comments ()Number of views (366)

Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Research, Animals & Wildlife, Climate & Weather

Tags:

Print

Search Jobs

Calender

«November 2017»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30
1734

The Pelé of the Animal Kingdom

Watch as Triton, an enormous male lion at the Johannesburg zoo, shows off some amazing and surprising soccer skills!

Read more
311
1735

World's First Ocean Wind Farm

Check out this amazing video of the world's first ocean wind farm in Scotland. An exciting step forward towards a greener world!

Read more
2345
67
1739

Who Knew Lions Played Fetch?

We've all heard of dogs playing fetch with their owners before, but what about lions? This rescued lioness shows that any animal can have a playful spirit.

Read more
8
1742

New Protection for Endangered Sharks

The whale shark is one of the most graceful inhabitants of our planet's oceans. And now, it's finally getting the protection it deserves.

Read more
9
1740

Shocking Footage of Young Elephant Capture

This footage shows a young elephant being separated from its family and captured, most likely to be sent to a zoo in China. Shocking footage. 

Read more
10
1743

How Climate Change Is Affecting Our Health

Climate change is certainly a hot button issue that's widely debated. But its detrimental effects on our health cannot be denied or disputed.

Read more
1112
13
1744

Cute Panda Cubs Avoiding Bedtime

Nothing like a group of panda cubs to start your day off right! Watch as these cute panda cubs actively avoid settling down for the night.

Read more
14
1747

The Environmental Impacts of Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are some of the most prolific forms of pollution known of today. But despite this fact, many people continue to use them.

Read more
15
1745

Bugs On A Microscopic Level

Have a look at this amazing TED talk on bugs seen through the lens of a microscope. A truly drastic change on our everyday perspective.

Read more
16
1748

How 'Leaning In' To Nature Can Be Good For Your Health

Humans have a natural connection to nature and, when that connection is embraced, there are a number of health effects that come along with it.

Read more
17
1746

Unexpected Animal Couples

This funny and heartwarming video shows that all of us, even a great dane and a deer, can find companionship in the unlikeliest of places.

Read more
1819
20212223242526
27282930123
45678910

Category

Categories

    Help Us Go Green
      
    Help Us Go Green