UNESCO: Paris Agreement Only Way to Save Coral Reefs

A report by UNESCO has concluded that cutting down emissions and delivering the Paris Climate agreement to be the only ways out to save coral reefs the world over.

Salient Highlights

This is the first global assessment of the impact of climate change on world heritage listed coral reefs. The assessment studies the impact of climate change on 29 world Heritage-listed coral reefs.

The assessment has found that local responses are no longer sufficient. The report has found that global warming caused by an increase in frequency, intensity, and duration of heat-stress events has massive consequences for the 29 world heritage sites.

The report has warned that world’s coral reefs will die out completely by mid-century unless carbon emissions are reduced. The consequences could also be severe for millions of people worldwide. It is estimated that at least 25 coral reefs are set to experience twice-per-decade severe bleaching events by 2040.

As per the report in the last three years, 25 out of 29 coral reefs which comprise three-fourths of the world’s reef systems has experienced severe bleaching events which are labelled as the worst-ever sequence of bleachings to date.

According to the report, by 2100 most of the coral reef system would die unless carbon emissions are reduced.

Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs are often referred as the rainforests of the oceans. They occupy less than 1% of the ocean floor but provides habitat for a million species. The deposits of Coral Reefs are mostly made up of Calcium Carbonate. Conditions required for their growth: Warm tropical oceans located between 30 degree north and 25 degree south latitudes where a minimum temperature of 20 degree is found and this temperature favours the growth of coral organisms; Oceanic water free of sedimentation; Transparent parts of ocean bodies; Relatively low salinity ocean bodies.
Bleaching of Coral occurs when the sea becomes too warm. Warm seas cause Corals to expel living algae and calcify turning into white. Scientists are concerned that climate change is killing the barrier reef. Rising temperatures by global warming increase the damage to the coral reefs harming the sensitive underwater ecosystem.
The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest coral reef in the world. It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981.

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Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2017

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