Experts warn of reef extinction by end of century

Wildlife experts warn that the world’s coral reefs may be extinct by the end of this century unless the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is cut down.

At a meeting in London on Monday, leading wildlife experts claimed that the predicted pace of emissions means a level of 450 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere will be reached by 2050.

The emissions will lead to increasingly acidic oceans and warming water temperatures, which will kill off the coral reefs in the following decades.

“The kitchen is on fire and it’s spreading around the house,” said Alex Rogers of the Zoological Society of London and the International Program on the State of the Ocean.



“If we act quickly and decisively we may be able to put it out before the damage becomes irreversible,” he added.

Coral reefs are important nurseries and shelters for fish and other sea life.

They also protect coastlines, provide a critical source of food for millions of people, attract tourists and are potential storehouse of medicines for cancer and other diseases.

The biggest is the Great Barrier Reef, a collection of 2,900 reefs along 2,100 km of Australia’s north east coast in a marine park the size of Germany.

xinhuanet.com, 7 July 2009. Article.

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