• Climate Change Is Devastating Coral Reefs Worldwide, Major Report Says

    From (David P.)@21:1/5 to All on Thu Oct 7 01:12:05 2021
    Climate Change Is Devastating Coral Reefs Worldwide,
    Major Report Says
    By Catrin Einhorn, 10/4/21, NY Times

    The world lost about 14% of its coral reefs in the
    decade after 2009, mainly because of climate change,
    acc. to a sweeping int'l report on the state of the
    world’s corals.

    The report, issued late Monday, underscores the
    catastrophic consequences of global warming while also
    offering some hope that some coral reefs can be saved
    if humans move quickly to rein in greenhouse gases.

    “Coral reefs are the canary in the coal mine telling
    us how quickly it can go wrong,” said David Obura,
    one of the rpt’s editors & chairman of the coral
    specialist group for the Int'l Union for
    Conservation of Nature.

    The 14% decline, he said, was cause for deep concern.
    “In finance, we worry about 0.5% declines & 0.5% changes
    in employment & interest rates.”

    Esp. alarming, the rpt’s editors said, is the trajectory.
    The 1st global bleaching event occurred in 1998, but many
    reefs bounced back. That no longer appears to be the case.

    “Since 2009, it’s a constant decline at the global level,”
    said Serge Planes, a research scientist at the Ctr for
    Island Research & Observatory of the Environment in
    Moorea, French Polynesia, who also edited the report.

    While coral reefs cover a tiny fraction of the ocean
    floor, they provide outsized benefits to people. Their
    fish supply a critical protein source to hundreds of
    millions of people. Their limestone branches protect
    coasts from storms. Their beauty supports billions of
    dollars in tourism. Collectively, they support an est.
    $2.7 trillion per year in goods & services, acc. to the
    report, which was issued by the Int'l Coral Reef
    Initiative, a partnership of countries & orgs that
    works to protect the world’s coral reefs.

    Perhaps 900 species of coral exist, & the researchers
    noted that some appear more resilient to the heat &
    acidification that accompany climate change.
    Unfortunately, those tend to be slower-growing & not the
    more familiar, reef-building varieties that support
    the richest biodiversity.


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