Limiting CO2 to 450ppm Will NOT Prevent Catastrophic Loss of Coral Reefs

coral reef fishes photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

This is Critically Important

Coral reefs are some of the most productive and diverse ecosystems on Earth, and protecting them should be a priority. But the latest news isn't good. The a technical workshop of leading world marine and climate change scientists hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and the Royal Society has released a short statement about the impacts of rising CO2 levels on coral reefs. Read on for the highlights.

bleached coral reef photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

The statement says:

Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing widespread mortality on the Great Barrier Reef and many other reefs of the world started when atmospheric CO2 exceeded 320ppm.

At today’s level of 387ppm CO2, reefs are seriously declining and time-lagged effects will result in their continued demise with parallel impacts on other marine and coastal

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 the 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.

So not only is the current level of CO2 un-sustainable for coral reefs, but if we want to get to a point where corals survive and thrive in the long-term, we will have to actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Think about the implications of that...

David Attenborough is already warning that coral reefs could face extinction within the next 50 years. Are coral reefs going to be the next polar bear?

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