The World’s Coral Reefs Under Threat
Windowofworld.com – “Twenty percent of the world’s coral reefs have been effectively destroyed or show no prospect of immediate recovery,” said the report, released on the first day of the United Nations environmental conference in Buenos Aires which runs until December 17.
The 2004 World Coral Reef Status also says that “another 24 percent of the world’s coral reefs are at risk of collapsing due to human pressure, and another 26 percent are under threat of long-term collapse.”
“The main emerging threats to coral reefs in the last decade are coral bleaching and mortality related to global climate change,” he said.
Bleaching is the mass death of corals caused by sudden increases in sea temperatures.
Even so, it is said that some reefs have recovered sharply from the 1998 bleaching that damaged 16 percent of all reefs worldwide, especially in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
“About 40 percent of the reefs that were badly damaged in 1998 either recovered well or have recovered,” he said. Some of the highlights of the report were published in Bangkok in November.
It is said that 1998 global warming has been the most serious in 1,000 years but will likely occur every 50 years in the future, in large part due to gases that trap heat in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels in cars, factories or power plants.
Corals are formed by the buildup of limestone skeletons left by tiny marine animals called polyps. Graves can be gigantic structures like the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, colorful homes for thousands of species from sharks to seaweed.
The report says countries around the world must do more to reduce pollution, limit fishing and fight to curb emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to protect corals.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) environmental group, which took part in the report, urged a government meeting in Buenos Aires to set the goal of limiting the temperature rise associated with global warming to 2 ° C.
“To save coral reefs, governments must reduce carbon dioxide emissions rapidly, but also create marine protected areas,” said Simon Cripps, head of WWF’s global marine program. The temperature has increased by 0.6 ° C since the late 1800s.
The report says a major success in the last five years has been Australia’s tight protection of a third of the Great Barrier Reef. The United States is taking similar steps off the coast of Hawaii and Florida.
But 75 percent of coral reefs are in developing countries where human populations are increasing rapidly and millions of people depend on reefs for food.