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

Published on Friday, July 7, 2017

Last Chance to Save Coral Reefs


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 (238)

Author: AThompson

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



Search Jobs


«July 2017»

Warming Temps Making Antarctica Ripe for Pests' Picking

Rising temperatures over the past 30 years have made the frozen continent a perfect spot for foreign pests, spelling out disaster for its fragile ecosystem.

Read more

Meet Eclipse, Seattle’s Famous Bus-Riding Dog

You wouldn't believe it if you couldn't see it with your very own eyes but it's true! This dog rides the bus to the dog park all by herself!

Read more

EPA Sued by Environmental Organizations for Lack of Pesticide Exposure Protection

The EPA is being further scrutinized for their role in reducing protections for pesticide applicators. Another event in a string of poor choices for the organization.

Read more

Owl Spotted ‘Swimming’ Through a Canyon

It's not everyday you get to see a horned owl doing the breast stroke but this viral footage shows that even the unlikeliest of animals can still surprise us.

Read more

5 Ways to Use Home Technology to Help You Go Green

Home technology is improving with each passing day. We've highlighted just a few recent advancements that'll help you make this world just a bit greener.

Read more

Federal Government Set to Remove the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bears are finally being removed from the endangered species list. But there still remains a bit of controversy around this important decision.

Read more

Three Baby Raccoons Befriend Some Fishermen

In this video, a bearded fisherman befriends three baby raccoons. Whether it was the beard that brought them in or not, this cute video will warm your heart.

Read more

Killer Whales vs. Fishermen: Who’s Winning?

Killer whales have always been some of the smartest animals in the sea. But now they're actually using their brains to rob fishermen of their catch. 

Read more

Two Adult Elephants Team Up and Save a Baby Elephant

Elephants care for their young more than most other animals. And this video proves that the entire elephant community cares for it's calves.

Read more

Last Chance to Save Coral Reefs

The future of our coral reefs is dimming with each passing day. And scientists have just joined together to issue a final warning.

Read more

Offshore Drilling Blasts Kill Ocean Animals

We all know oil spills can destroy entire ecosystems. But a new study shows that drilling alone is killing off crucial underwater life at an alarming pace.

Read more

Wandering Dog Joins the Vienna Chamber Orchestra During a Live Performance

Watch this hilarious footage of a calm and curious dog crashing an outdoor orchestra performance much to the delight of the audience. 

Read more

Study Shows that Dogs Have A Sense of Justice

We've always thought that a dog's values reflects its owner's. But a recent study shows that canine justice might have a genetic factor tracing all the way back to wolves. 

Read more

Baby Hippo Tries to Recruit a Crocodile as a Playmate

Can you imagine choosing a crocodile as a playmate? It looks like this playful hippo has. Watch as he entertains himself with this unusual friend.

Read more

A Half-Degree Is More Than You Think

A common argument among climate change skeptics is that a few degrees difference won't change the world that much. Boy are they wrong.

Read more

6 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Consumption

Our inability to dispose of plastics properly is causing a worldwide pollution epidemic. Here are six earth-friendly tips for helping you cut down plastic use.

Read more

Butterfly Metamorphosis Seen Clearly Through a Window

Ever wonder what it's like to see a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? This amazing footage shows you just that by giving you a literal window into a cocoon. 

Read more

Why Clean Coal Is Not The Answer

Clean coal has been championed by many to be the future of energy production. But as the recent failure of a new shows, clean coal is not all it's cracked up to be. 

Read more

‘Step Dog’ Babysits a Litter of Kittens

Check out this viral footage of a responsible pet puppy trying to keep a litter of kittens in line. A monumental task that this dog just can't seem to handle. 

Read more

6 Environmental Benefits of Home Solar Panels

Investing in solar panels is one of the best ways to help reduce your family's impact on the environment. Here's six reasons why. 

Read more

A Segment from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf Breaks Free

The Larsen C ice shelf recently broke away and is now adrift in the sea. But as time goes on, the shelf itself is beginning to break apart as well.

Read more

Year-Long Video Captures Intimate Footage of Wild Animals

Watch as an entire year of a tree's life is captured in this footage of a single beech tree in Italy. Animals like bears, deer, badgers and wolves all pop by for a look.

Read more

A Third of the World Is Now Subject to Deadly Heatwaves

Deadly heatwaves are popping up more and more all over the world. And thanks to the far-reaching effects of climate change, we're bound to deal with even more.

Read more

Flyover Video Gives An Up Close and Personal View of Pluto

Check out this amazing footage of Pluto's surface captured by the New Horizon satellite. This is one view that's truly out of this world. 

Read more



    Help Us Go Green
    Help Us Go Green