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Coral reefs likely to disappear from planet by mid-century

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Prague: Coral reefs are likely to disappear from the planet by mid-century even if world leaders agree on efforts to limit temperature increase to less than two degree Celsius by the end of the century at December’s Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, scientists have warned.
coral reef“Even if Paris is wildly successful, and a treaty is struck, ocean warming and ocean acidification are going to continue beyond the end of this century,” said professor Peter Sale from University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

Speaking at a plenary session of the ongoing Goldschmidt 2015 conference, one of the world’s major gathering of geochemists, in Prague, Czech Republic, Sale said he sees little hope for reefs unless the world embarks on a more aggressive emissions reduction plan.

“This is now serious; I find it very unlikely that coral reefs as I knew them in the mid-1960s will still be found anywhere on this planet by mid-century. Instead, we will have algal-dominated, rubble-strewn, slowly eroding limestone benches,” Sale pointed out.

Coral reefs are hot spots for bio-diversity and crucial for the economies of many coastal communities.

Besides providing habitats and shelter for many marine organisms, they protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms.

They are now considered one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to future climate change due to rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, which is caused by higher atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2).

“Aiming for CO2 at 350 ppm (parts per million), or a total warming of around 1C is scientifically defendable, and would give reefs a good chance; a number of coral reef scientists have called for this,” Sale noted.

“This is a global emergency, which requires us to decarbonise within the next 20 years, or face temperatures that will eliminate ecosystems like coral reefs, and indeed many systems that humans depend on,” said professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from University of Queensland in Australia.

(IANS)

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Americans ‘Alarmed’ by Climate Change Double in Just 5 Years

Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the poll conducted last December by Yale and George Mason universities.

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Paris Climate Meet, Global Warming
A woman displays a placard during a demonstration in New York on June 1, 2017, to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 195-nation Paris climate accord deal. VOA

The proportion of Americans found to be “alarmed” by climate change has doubled in just five years, the pollsters behind a nationwide survey revealed on Tuesday.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the poll conducted last December by Yale and George Mason universities were in the alarmed category — an all-time high — and twice the percentage of those surveyed in 2013.

More than 1,100 adults across the United States were asked about their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors toward climate change.

The answers were then used to classify respondents into six groups, from dismissive, or least worried about climate change, to alarmed, for those most worried.

US, New York
FILE – People cool off at the Unisphere in Queens, New York, July 2, 2018. VOA

Those deemed dismissive of global warming represented 9 percent of respondents, a drop of five points compared to 2013.

‘Green New Deal’

The findings come amid a growing polarization of the political debate over the issue of global warming in the United States.

The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris climate deal has fired up his base, while opponents have championed a “Green New Deal” that seeks to eliminate the nation’s heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions within a decade.

The 2015 Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 nations, seeks to wean the global economy off fossil fuels in the second half of this century, limiting the rise in average temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

The increased visibility of global warming such debates generate could explain Americans’ rising concern, said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor emeritus at Hunter College in New York City.

New York, Climate
The climate in New York City in 60 years could feel like Arkansas now. Pixabay

“The more information you get there more interested that you are,” he said.

Academic research has further shown that growing exposure to bouts of extreme weather may also change minds, he added. “And it results in higher concern.”

Climate change influences economy

Climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, hitting everything from health to infrastructure, according to a 2018 government report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II.

ALSO READ: Global Warming Could Change US Cities’ Climate by 2080- Study

Meanwhile, three of the five costliest hurricanes in the United States — Harvey, Maria and Irma — occurred in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the U.S. Commerce Department. (VOA)