Corals Reefs Are Doomed Even If Global Climate Goals Are Met
Grim forecasts were in fact unduly optimistic.
By Marlowe Hood
Coral reefs that anchor a quarter of marine wildlife and the livelihoods of more than half-a-billion people will most likely be wiped out even if global warming is capped within Paris climate goals, researchers said Tuesday.
An average increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would see more than 99 percent of the world’s coral reefs unable to recover from ever more frequent marine heat waves, they reported in the journal PLOS Climate.
At two degrees of warming, mortality will be 100 percent according to the study, which used a new generation of climate models with an unprecedented resolution of one square kilometre.
“The stark reality is that there is no safe limit of global warming for coral reefs,” lead author Adele Dixon, a researcher at the University of Leeds’ School of Biology, told AFP.
“1.5C is still too much warming for the ecosystems on the frontline of climate change.”
The 2015 Paris Agreement enjoins nearly 200 nations to keep global heating “well below” 2C (36 degrees Fahrenheit).
But with more deadly storms, floods, heatwaves and droughts after only 1.1C of warming to date, the world has embraced the treaty’s more ambitious aspirational goal of a 1.5C limit.
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