Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French presidential election: Over 40% remain undecided

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

ICC orders Congo warlord germain Katanga to pay victims

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trumpcare Falls Before First Hurdle

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Westminster Attack, Abadi in Washington (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Obamacare, Europe's Unholy Alliances, Martin McGuinness (part 2)

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Export bans hit Brazil amid tainted meat scandal

Read more

#TECH 24

Inside Netflix's war room

Read more

FOCUS

French Catholic voters remain faithful to scandal-hit Fillon

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Growing ambitions: The forces driving India's economy

Read more

Planète

World's coral reefs face extinction

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-23

The world's coral reefs could be extinct by 2050 if environmental stresses such as overfishing, climate change and pollution aren't curbed, a new report said Wednesday.

AFP - The world's coral reefs could be wiped out by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to stop threats posed to the "rainforests of the sea" by everything from overfishing to global warming, a report warned Wednesday.

Warmer seas caused by global warming; ocean acidification blamed on carbon dioxide pollution; shipping, overfishing, coastal development and agricultural runoff all pose a threat to coral reefs, which hundreds of millions of people depend on for a living, says the report.

"If left unchecked, more than 90 percent of reefs will be threatened by 2030 and nearly all reefs will be at risk by 2050," says the "Reefs at Risk Revisited" report, which was compiled by dozens of research, conservation and educational groups led by the World Resources Institute think-tank.

"Local pressures" on reefs, including overfishing, coastal development and pollution, pose the most immediate and direct threats to the world's reefs, threatening more than 60 percent of the colorful sea "forests" in the short term, the report says.

The impacts of climate change -- a "global threat" to reefs -- is compounding the local pressures.

"Warming seas have already caused widespread damage to reefs, with high temperatures driving a stress response called coral bleaching, where corals lose their colorful symbiotic algae, exposing their white skeletons," the report says.

"In addition, increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are slowly causing the world's oceans to become more acidic. Ocean acidification reduces coral growth rates and, if unchecked, could reduce their ability to maintain their physical structure."

Losing the coral reefs would deprive millions of coastal dwellers of a key source of food and income, and would deprive shorelines of protection from storms, the report says.

There would be fewer nurseries for commercial fish species, and less sand on tourist beaches if coral reefs are destroyed.

"We need to improve, quickly and comprehensively, on existing efforts to protect reefs," says the report, which is aimed at galvanizing the world into action "to save these critical ecosystems."
 

Date created : 2011-02-23

COMMENT(S)