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World’s Coral Reefs Began Decline At 320 ppm Atmospheric CO2

A technical workshop conducted last week by marine scientists and hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and the Royal Society concluded that temperature-induced mass coral bleaching began killing many of the world’s coral reefs and their ecosystems when global atmospheric CO2 exceeded 320ppm (parts per million), about 20% below today’s levels.

360ppm is the level at which reefs “cease to be viable in the long term,” according to coral reef specialist Professor John E.N. Veron of the Center for Marine Studies, University of Queensland. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 currently stand at approximately 385ppm, depending on the part of the world in which the atmosphere is sampled.

In addition to temperature-induced bleaching, coral reefs in many parts of the world are under stress from overfishing, destructive fishing, coastal pollution, and sedimentation.

A joint statement issued by conference participants declared:

To ensure the long-term viability of coral reefs, atmospheric carbon dioxide level must be reduced significantly below 350ppm... In addition to major reductions in CO2 emissions, achieving this safe level will require the active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The Earth’s atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached 320 ppm in the mid-1960s, and 360ppm in the mid-1990s. The joint statement will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of December's climate policy negotiations in Copenhagen.

—Jack Rosebro

Comments

richard schumacher

Meanwhile, Senators and industrialists promote the use of natural gas for vehicles, and Greens oppose nuclear power. These are two kinds of madness. We should be replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas and nuclear right now, along with developing new wind, geothermal and Solar. We have run out of time.

sulleny

"the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and the Royal Society concluded "

Wasn't aware the Ocean had become a State. That makes 51 now, right? Good to know it hasn't gone to the commies.

Treehugger

There is nothing that makes me more sad in life than this kind of new, I am a diver as well as a sailor and visited many coral reef in Thailand, red sea, Caraibean. The idea that these beautiful ecosystems could be wipped from the face of the hearth by our selfish behavior is so scarry and frigthening that I can't even face the idea.

sulleny

Oceanographers and marine biologist generally believe that coral failure like the barriers are a combination of temperature and disease. These effects appear cyclical along with changes in the pH as witnessed by studies looking at the past 2-3 hundred million years.

It is however a nice hot button for alarmists who should be more interested in controlling the access to reefs by tourists than the effects of CO2.

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