Climate change endangers Coral Triangle: WWF
Climate change could wipe out an ocean wilderness said to be the
world’s most diverse by the end of the century if nations do not
drastically cut emissions, the environmental group World Wildlife Fund (
WWF) said recently.
Rising water temperatures, sea levels and acidity in the vast region
threaten to destroy reefs in Southeast Asia’s Coral Triangle, a region
labelled the ocean’s answer to the Amazon rainforest, the WWF report
Collapse of the reefs would send food production in the region
plummeting (fall) by 80 per cent and imperil(endanger) the livelihoods
of over 100 million people, forcing many to move from coastal villages
to teeming cities, it warned.
“If we don’t do anything, then the reefs are going to be gone by the
end of this century and the impact on food security and livelihoods will
be very significant,” WWF Coral Triangle Initiative Network head Lida
Pet Soede told AFP.
“Some of the locations in the Coral Triangle are really important
areas for all sorts of fish. The migration of tuna and turtles that
spawn(produce eggs or young) in the Coral Triangle are not going to have
a next generation.” Saving the Coral Triangle will require countries to
commit to deep cuts in carbon gas emissions when they gather for global
climate talks in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December to work out a
successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.Cuts of 80 per cent below 1990
levels by 2050 would be needed to avert the worst effects on the region,
home to more than half the world’s coral reefs and a lynchpin for ocean
life in the region.
Heat-trapping carbon gases — notably from burning fossil fuels like
coal, oil and gas — are blamed for warming Earth’s atmosphere and
driving changes to weather patterns.Local communities and governments
will also have to curb over-fishing and pollution, the WWF report said.
“If you continue down the path of the over-exploitation of resources,
even if you get an incredible reduction in emissions there will still be
a threat,” WWF climate campaigner Richard Leck said.The report comes as
ministers and officials from over 70 countries meet in the Indonesian
city of Manado for the World Ocean Conference, the first global meeting
on the relationship between oceans and climate change.
Nations at the conference hope to pass a joint declaration aimed at
influencing the direction of the Copenhagen talks in December.
A concurrent meeting will also see leaders from the six Coral
Triangle nations — Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, East Timor, the
Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea — pass a joint plan on conserving
the region.WWF campaigner Leck said any agreement to save the Coral
Triangle would help limit damage to the region, which despite gloomy
forecasts would likely be among the reef regions slowest to be ravaged
by climate change.
“The Coral Triangle is potentially more resilient than other coral
areas around the world and what is amazing is the level of political
commitment we are seeing this week,” he said.
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