Global warming continues to threaten coral reefs
The Paris Climate Conference (also known as COP21) is currently being held in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. This event is the successor to the Kyoto climate protocol. This year, the member states will decide on what steps to take to limit global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius.
For the coral reefs in the tropics, the increase of ocean temperatures is a very serious threat. Even temporary increases in temperature can lead to coral bleaching and more carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater. Scientists warn that more than 30 percent of all coral reefs may be destroyed if the ocean's surface increases by even a small amount.
Not only does climate change threaten coral reefs, it also affects the El Nino phenomenon, which is currently in full swing. A third global coral bleaching has been detected in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, following similar incidents in 1998 and 2010 (see also recent article).
The effects of the temperature rise would be further amplified by the El Niño phenomenon. What is important now is to reduce global warming. Hence, the survival of the coral reefs depends on the success of COP21.
The International Society for Reef Studies calls on all nations at the COP21 to commit themselves to limit and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. More details on this can be found in its brochure: Climate Change Threatens the Survival of Coral Reefs (pdf).