CO2 @ COP15: “Coral reefs don’t do well above about 350ppm”

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COPENHAGEN. Dec 9, 2009. Extinction of Coral reefs and 10-20% of marine species is likely if greenhouse gases aren’t brought down to 350ppm, warned Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland. He gave a presentation at the US Pavilion at the COP15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen about the threat of climate change to the world’s coral reefs. Over 500 million people living in approximately 90 nations are dependant in some way on coral reefs.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg was a contributing author to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2007, which shared the Nobel Prize with Al Gore.

“Carbon and coral reef ecosystems are not sustainable at temperatures that increase up to 2 degrees above the pre-industrial or concentrations of CO2 above 450ppm.”

“Eliminating these habitats will inevitably lead to about 10 to 20% of marine biodiversity going extinct. Thats all those organisms that are highly dependant on coral reefs. And losing coral reefs will have enormous issues for 500 million people living in approximately 90 nations.”

“In the longer term we will have exacerbation of the problems of storm damage and sea level rise if we lose the coastal protection service that coral reefs provide.”

“So one of the most difficult things for scientists to do in a policy environment that finds it difficult to deal with emissions is to tell the truth. Now the truth is that coral reefs don’t do well above about 350ppm CO2.”

“So any pathway in terms of policy has to bring CO2 down below 350ppm. Otherwise we are not going to have coral reefs. And on that pathway we must minimise the amount of time where we get close to 450ppm and these thresholds that are looming. This means some dramatic reductions in emissions. If we don’t make that decision, there is a lot of peoples livelihoods hanging in the balance.” (Read More)

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