Filmed as part of the 2011 Ideas Festival, Brisbane. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, is well recognised for its pivotal roles in supporting an abundance of marine life and Queensland’s tourism industry. Author, …
Below is a researched article of the possible Extinction: Cairns Great Barrier Reef of Australia:
I know everyone has there own say! Unfortunately the video above and the article below provides quality information on this topic! Are the reefs and the Great Barrier Reef in trouble from CLIMATE CHANGE?
Children born today could be the last generation to enjoy swimming among stunning coral reefs, marine scientists have said.
A meeting of leading wildlife experts – led by Sir David Attenborough – today warned that tropical reefs face ‘imminent destruction’ unless the world cuts the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
They say concentrations of CO2 have already gone beyond the tipping point for reefs – and need to return to the levels of the 1970s.
And Charlie Veron, former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, has claimed that the Great Barrier Reef will be gone within 20 years.
Marine biologists say this does not just mean cutting greenhouse gas emissions – but finding a way to strip existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Coral reefs aren’t just beautiful to look at, they are the most important eco-systems of the seas.
The reefs are home to one million species of sea life and provide food and jobs for millions of people.
Reefs also protect coasts from storm damage, and attract millions of tourists. They also support a quarter of all the life in the seas.
However, coral reefs are highly sensitive to rising levels of carbon dioxide. Since the start of the industrial revolution, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are thought to have gone up from around 280ppm (parts per million) to 387ppm today.
Higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere turn the seas more acid and dissolve coral.
They also trap more heat around the Earth, increasing sea temperatures and triggering mass ‘bleaching’ of coral.
Photo below: Tropical fish surround the coral reef, but for how long?
Since the 1980s, a fifth of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed or damaged.
Marine scientists have warned that the world’s coral reefs could be wiped out before 2050 if carbon emissions continued at their present level.
Sir David , who chaired the meeting at the Royal Society, said: ‘Coral reef is the canary in the cage as far as the oceans of the world are concerned.
‘They are the places where the damage is most easily and perhaps most quickly seen.
‘They are a barometer of a malaise which is afflicting the ocean at large in which it is more difficult for us to see what is happening.’
He added: ‘Anybody who has had the privilege of diving along a coral reef will have seen the natural world at its most glorious and its most diverse and most beautiful and anybody who has done that would be appalled at the thought there was going to be damage, that the reefs should die and be covered with brown slime and turn to a gravel pit.’
The meeting, organised by the Zoological Society of London, looked at the latest evidence linking carbon dioxide emissions with the death of coral reefs.
At today’s concentrations of 387ppm, repeated cycles of coral death have sent most reefs into ‘serious decline’, the meeting heard.
World leaders are proposing to limit CO2 levels to 450ppm – the equivalent to a 2C rise in global temperatures – to prevent catastrophic climate change.
However, the Royal Society meeting concluded that levels were already too high to protect the Cairns Queensland Australia.
A statement from the scientists said: ‘Proposals to limit CO2 levels to 450ppm will not prevent the catastrophic loss of coral reefs from the combined effects of climate change and ocean acidification.
‘To ensure long-term viability of coral reefs, atmospheric carbon dioxide level must be reduced significantly below 350ppm.
‘In addition to major reductions in CO2 emissions, achieving this safe level will require the active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.’
The United Nation’s panel of climate change experts predicts that CO2 levels could reach 450ppm by 2030.
Dr Alex Rogers of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean, said; ‘Children born now could be the last generation to experience coral reefs as we know them.’
Tipping point: Children today could be the last generation to swim among stunning coral reefs unless we cut the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
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