A fifth of coral reefs dead: only emission cuts can save the rest, says IUCN

"If nothing is done to substantially cut emissions, we could effectively lose coral reefs as we know them, with major coral extinctions,”

The world has lost 19 percent of its coral reefs, and if current trends in carbon dioxide emissions continue, many of the remaining reefs may be lost over the next 20 to 40 years.

Climate change is considered the biggest threat to coral reefs with impacts such as increasing sea surface temperatures and acidification. These are exacerbated by overfishing, pollution and invasive species.

Encouragingly, 45 percent of the world’s reefs are currently healthy. Another sign of hope is the ability of some corals to recover after major bleaching events, caused by warming waters, and to adapt to climate change threats.

However, the report shows that, globally, the downward trend of recent years has not been reversed.

This according to the 2008 global update of the world’s reef status, released by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. Full article on the IUCN website with links to downloads of original reports, and on the wildsingapore news blog.

More links to related reports on the wild shores of singapore blog.

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