Be Green Two: US Coral Reefs

The US coral reef task force is meeting in Kona this week.

In tonight’s be green two report, an agenda item reveals a major threat to our coral reef systems.

It’s called the greatest climate change threat facing coral reefs….ocean acidification.
The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and about one-third of the co2 is absorbed by the ocean.

Paul Jokiel of Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology says, “Unfortunately when it dissolves into the ocean, it’s essentially becoming acidic, so our oceans are becoming more and more acidic.”

The acid dissolves the skeletons of corals, algae, marine plants…paul jokiel, who researches corals on coconut island says we’ll see a 20 to 30 percent decline of corals by the end of the century and the plants that harden and hold the coral reefs together are at a 50-percent decline.

“We are the warning, it’s happening, we can show that it’s happening, at a very massive level, especially in in the Carribean Hawai’i’s a little more fortunate we’re a little on the edge of that.”

Rod Salm from the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii says, “The effects pervasive, insideous, they’re creeping so they’re hard to see. It’s been likened to osteoperosis of the reef. The coral becomes more brittle, and consequently they’re weaker, they break easy .”

Jokiel and Salm, a tropical marine conservation director were part of a think tank of ocean experts who gathered to find solutions. They say there is hope, with recommendations for individuals, marine managers and government.

“Seven of those deal with policy issues and most important overriding of those is that we need to get control of our carbon dioxide emmisions,” says Salm.

“The solution ultimately is that we’re going to go to a level of co2 emissions that maybe we had in the year 2000, so we’re not necessarily going to stop that, but more and more and more we’re going to be bringing on line other sources of energy,” says Jokiel.

They’ll be presenting the recommendations to the US coral reef task force and to the United Nations.

Kathy Muneno, Khon2.com, 26 August 2008. Article.

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