In a Science review article co-authored by 17 marine scientists concluded that rising carbon emissions might kill off the ocean’s coral reefs by 2050. They made three predictions as to what might happen in the future: Carbon dioxide emissions will stabilize at today’s levels of 380 ppm, and the reefs will stay mostly intact; carbon dioxide levels will rise to 450-500 ppm and the ocean temperature will go up 3.6 degrees, making reefs less diverse; or carbon dioxide levels will rise above 500 ppm and the temperature will increase more than 5.4 degrees.
If the worst-case scenario occurs, the reefs will crumble and half of all sea life will disappear.”We have created conditions on Earth unlike anything most species alive today have experienced in their evolutionary history. Corals are feeling the effects of our actions and it is now or never if we want to safeguard these marine creatures and the livelihoods that depend on them,” Profesor Bob Steneck of University of Maine said.
Source: Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, 13 December 2007