14 May 2009

Coral reefs under critical threat due to climate change, say scientists

7:50 pm on 14 May 2009

A new scientific report says that around 100 million people risk losing their homes and livelihoods unless drastic steps are taken to protect the coral reefs of the Southeast Asia/Pacific region.

University of Queensland researchers say that these reefs could be wiped out in coming decades because of climate change, threatening the livelihoods of many communities in countries like PNG and Solomon Islands.

The group has presented its study at the World Ocean Conference, citing 300 published scientific studies and 20 climate change experts.

It told the conference there's a critical need for action to be taken, including an 80 per cent cut in global carbon emissions by 2050, to save the marine ecosystem.

Dr Phillip Boyd of New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says it's important that the world takes heed of this early warning

"To let people know that this is the other, sort of insidious, side of global warming. On the one hand, the ocean is doing us a favour, if you like, by taking up a lot of the CO2 emissions, it is making the ocean more acidic."

Dr Phillip Boyd