Climate change is hurting coral reefs around the globe in a significant fashion. According to a new study, between 2009 and 2018, the planet lost 14 percent of its coral. The devastating phenomenon is affecting the world in ways that many did not expect.
Climate Change hurting Coral reefs’ loss is a problem for fish consumption
People behind the finding say that coral bleaching plays the most prominent role in the loss that the globe is currently facing. This happens when coral reefs are under stress because of changes in temperature, light, and nutrients.
They then expel algae living in their tissues. After the expulsion, the corals turn white. In 1998, a terrible bleaching event was responsible for killing 8 percent of the world’s corals.
Coral reefs are only a tiny part of the seabed, but they are essential for fish supply.
Fish consumption per capita has gone up steadily in the past four decades.
It went from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s to a whopping 20 kilograms in 2014. As humans distance themselves from other protein sources, fish presents itself as a solid and potentially healthier alternative.
Researchers say global warming action necessary to save corals
Researchers in that field are issuing a warning with their discovery. While the decline will probably continue in the foreseeable future, all hope is not lost. If global warming is addressed in the proper context, the process can be slowed down.
However, tackling climate change is not going to be enough. Reducing pollution will also have to be a part of the solution. Moreover, fishing practices are a contributing factor in the decline.
The new study comes at a time when world leaders appear more attentive to the problems linked to the climate. According to some experts, it will take more than good intentions to improve the situation. Activists are already saying that there is little political will to address problems like this one comprehensively. For example, leaders are more focused on saving pristine reefs.
Coral reefs’ decline as an economic issue
David Obura, one of the experts, who worked on the international report, said that approach is wrong and will not address most of the problem. Dr. Obura wants the mediocre reefs to also get attention because people depend on them to survive in some areas.
A few experts like Terry Hughes, who did not work on this research, said the complete picture might be different and slightly more alarming.
In cases like this one, he said mediocre reefs are often ignored because studying them is not appealing. He still believes the corals are resilient and just need a little help from humans to regenerate.
One way to make progress on global warming is to frame the issue in economic terms.
Doing this makes the topic less abstract and more palatable to critics.
Coral reefs are linked to an estimated $2.7 trillion annually in goods and services, but they only cover 1 percent of the ocean floor. This number includes tourism and fishing.
South Asia, Australia, and the Pacific are among the areas suffering the most from the decline. The report contained 40 years of data and covered 73 countries and close to 12,000 sites.
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