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Thursday, 11 December 2008 20:41

DESTROYED: One out of five coral reefs

About 19% of Earth’s coral reefs, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, have been destroyed and the other 81% could follow the same path if humans do not actively (and successfully) reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

IUCN director general Julia Marton-Lefevre states, “The world has lost about 19 percent of its coral reefs during the last 20 years." [Associated Press: “1/5 of coral reefs already lost, much more feared”]

On Wednesday, December 10, 2008, the IUCN, an international environmental group, stated that increased acidity within the oceans, along with global warming and increased ocean temperatures, is destroying coral reefs.

Besides these large environmental problems, the IUCN also stated that pollution and harmful fishing methods are also contributing to the coral reef destruction.

The IUCN statements were made at United Nation talks on a new climate change treaty, being held in Poznan, Poland.

Marton-Lefevre also stated, "If current trends in carbon dioxide emission continue, many of the remaining reefs will be lost in the next 20 to 40 years. Climate change must be limited to the absolute minimum if we want to save coral reefs." [AP]

She emphasized, "We need to move forward and substantially cut emissions.” [AP]

The report was developed by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. GCRMN coordinator Clive Wilkinson stated,  "The report details the strong scientific consensus that climate change must be limited to the absolute minimum. If nothing is done to substantially cut emissions, we could effectively lose coral reefs as we know them, with major coral extinctions.” [MSNBC: “Fifth of world coral reefs lost, survey finds”]

Page two discusses how humans destroy coral with their carbon dioxide activities.

Humans are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere with the  use of internal combustion vehicles (gasoline powered cars), industrial production (factories that spew out poisonous chemicals), and other such COtoo-much activities.

Such increased amounts of CO2 heats up the atmosphere (what we call global warming). This, in turn, leads to increased ocean temperatures.

And, this leads to more acidic waters, which is very detrimental to the health of coral, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, especially in their ability to build their protective shells.

IUCN Global Marine Program head Carl Gustaf Lundin stated, "If nothing changes, we are looking at a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide in less than 50 years."

He adds, "As this carbon is absorbed, the oceans will become more acidic, which is seriously damaging a wide range of marine life from corals to plankton communities and from lobsters to seagrasses." [MSNBC]

The IUCN, headquartered in Gland, Switzerland, is a one-thousand-plus member organization that coordinates environmental and natural resource activities between governments, non-government organizations (NGOs), and scientists.

The GCRMN, based in Townsville, Australia, is dedicated to improving the local and global management and conservation of coral reefs by providing databases, equipment, manuals, problem-solving techniques, training, and fund-search techniques to various organizations around the world, all through their specialized network.

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