Climate Change Measures Seldom Enough to Rescue Coral Reefs

December’s Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris is expected to light the green bulb on measures that would control global temperature rise. Sounds good indeed; but that barely will prove to be the rescuer of coral reefs in our world, fears an expert.

Peter F Sale, professor from University of Windsor fears that coral reefs might still be in jeopardy even if the global leaders give the nod to efforts towards limiting temperature increase to less than two degree Celsius by the end of the century.

While global warming still remains a threat to coral reef population, he believes that factors like ocean acidification and ocean warming will still prevail, with an expected demise of the entire coral reefs to occur not more than 50 years from now.

Sale, who was at the Goldschmidt 2015 conference, said that the possibility of coral reefs presence across the world by mid-century appears to be very unlikely. That’s not to change even if the Paris conference brags a wild success with the treaty getting struck. What left in the oceans by the mid of this century would only be ‘algal-dominated, rubble-strewn, slowly eroding limestone benches’, said Sale while speaking at a plenary session in Prague.

While the current talks are heading to bring down the temperature rise by 2 degree by the end of this century, Sale believes that the survival of coral reefs could see the light only if temperature rise is brought down to 1C, which he views as scientifically defendable.

Coral reefs across the world have been put under immense peril with high amount of ocean acidification and higher sea surface temperatures caused by the rising level of atmospheric CO2.

The latter alone has caused the depletion of coral reefs growth rate in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef by more than 40%, points out a study carried out by scientists from the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC last year.

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