Worlds reefs may be dead within 30 years

September 1st, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by ANI  

Canberra, September 1 (ANI): A researcher has said that the worlds reefs, including Australias Great Barrier Reef, will be dead within 30 years unless human activity changes quickly.

According to a report in The Australian, the researcher in question is scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

Lets say we delay another 10 years on having stern actions on emissions at a global level, we will not have coral reefs in about 30 to 50 years, he said.

Rising CO2 levels and melting ice caps meant the ocean was becoming uninhabitable for reefs, according to Hoegh-Guldberg, whos from the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland in Australia.

This worldwide change in climatic conditions was in addition to land-based pollution spilling from Queenslands coastal river systems, he added.

Were rapidly rising to (CO2) levels which will be unsustainable for reefs in the very near future, said Hoegh-Guldberg.

If you ask the question, Will we have coral reefs in 30 years time?, I would say at the current rate of change and what were doing to them, we wont. But its all up to us right now, he added.

Were at the fork in the road. If we take one road - the one were on right now - we wont have coral reefs, he further added.

The researcher said that ice core samples showed that CO2 levels were the highest for at least a million years, possibly 20 million years.

That changes the circumstances under which corals form their skeletons, so they become less vibrant. Then, if you keep hitting them with things like bleaching events, they just dont bounce back as much, he said.

So, were changing essentially the rules under which biology is trying to operate, and thats the problem, he added.

Hoegh-Guldberg also warned that an increasing incidence of coral bleaching was a growing threat.

If we have them (bleaching events) now every four to five years, were getting to a point where reefs no longer have time to recover, he said.

According to Hoegh-Guldberg, If we make some very, very, very aggressive actions, if we reform how we do things, both at the global and local level, well have a really good chance of bringing coral reefs through in some shape or form, which will still provide the basis for the 100 million people that they support. (ANI)

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