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A Greener Festival Blog #2


by Ben Challis | 14 May 2009

WWF SAY PACIFIC REEFS WILL BE WIPED OUT

A new report from the WWF, launched today at the World’s Oceans Conference in Indonesia, shows climate change will destroy coral reefs around the world saying that more than half of them were at risk of “major environmental and human catastrophe”

The most at risk region, the ‘coral triangle, has just 1% of the earth’s surface, it is home for 53% of the world’s coral reefs, including over 80% of all reef-building coral species and at least 3,000 species of fish as well as providing vital spawning grounds for other economically important fish such as tuna.

It is predicted that due to climate change and overfishing, the capacity of the region’s coastal environments to feed people will decline by 80%.

Emily Lewis-Brown, marine climate change officer at WWF-UK, said: “The effects of climate change on the oceans are global and only strong and urgent action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions can hope to mitigate this threat” and called on world leaders to agree a strong and fair Global Climate Deal at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The report entitled “The Coral Triangle and Climate Change: Ecosystem, People and Societies at Risk” was compiled from research of 20 of the world’s leading coral reef scientists.

The WWF proposed nine measures for action which it described as urgent and include taking urgent steps to reverse decline in health of coastal ecosystem and reviewing the adequacy of local and national conservation measures in the light of climate change.

The report also urged the world to take greater steps to engage coastal communities and stakeholders in protecting their reefs and to build capacity of reef managers to implement necessary changes in reef and fisheries management.

The report coincided with decision of the six of Coral Triangle nations Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands - to move ahead with the world’s largest trans-boundary network of marine protected areas.

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