On October 20, the International Society of Reef Studies released a jaw-dropping scientific Consensus Statement in preparation for the 21st Session of the  Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Paris this December.

 

Climate Change the Culprit in Mass Coral Bleaching Events

coral-bleaching, coral reef, ocean warming, global warming, climate changeThe ISRS highlights the role of climate change as the ultimate cause of coral bleaching that is now threatening a global loss of coral reef ecosystems.

The scientific Consensus Statement was drawn up by a team led by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland and reviewed by a wider panel of society members. The team concluded that even the cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions being proposed at the forthcoming Climate Change Conference in Paris will not be enough to prevent widespread degradation of coral reefs over the next few decades.

 

Disasterous for food security and tourism

Chris Jones - Great Barrier reef marine park authority, coral reef bleaching, climate change, global warming, oceanCiting NOAA tracking and predictions of Coral Bleaching around the globe, lead author Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia said “With hundreds of millions of people relying on coral reef fisheries and tourism for their livelihood and sustenance, the repercussions of continued global coral bleaching could be disastrous.” (photo – Chris Jones)

 

Call for Urgent Action to Save Coral Reefs

The Society calls for all nations and negotiators at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) to commit to limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to no more than 450 ppm in the short-term, and reducing them to 350ppm in the long-term.

This, the ISRS authors conclude, should keep average global temperature increase to less than 2°C (or 3.6oF) in the short-term, and less than 1.5oC (or 2.7oF) in the long-term, relative to the pre-industrial period, and be sufficient to prevent global collapse of coral reef ecosystems and allow coral reefs to survivein to the future.

 

Coral Less Able to Cope than any Other Organism

ISRS secretary,Professor Rupert Ormond of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK, says “this looks like the beginning of the end for coral reefs, certainly as we have known them. Coral reefs are the canary down the mine for mankind, so far as climate change is concerned. Corals are highly productive but very  simple animals, and are less able to cope with rising temperatures than any other group of organisms on earth.”

 

About ISRS

The International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) is the principal association to which scientists and managers and other professionals concerned with coral reefs belong. It publishes the highly rated scientific journal “Coral Reefs” and organises the four-yearly International Coral Reef Symposium, the next to be held in June 2016, in Hawaii.

Download the Consensus Statement. Read the ISRS media release. Visit International Society of Reef Scientists at CoralReef.org.

Photo: Bleaching coral reefs in American Samoa, 2015 (photo courtesy of XL Catlin Seaview Survey)n** This RSS Feed is brought to you by Blue Ocean Network.com **