Study: 90 Percent of Coral Reefs Will Be Gone By 2050

We have been discussing the mounting evidence of catastrophic impacts from climate change.  A new report is particularly . . .  well . . . chilling.  Scientists believe that the world has now lost half of its coral reefs in the last 30 years and could lose 90 percent 2050.  It is not just the loss of one of the most unique and beautiful areas of Earth but the impact could be enormous on our food and our environment.  Indeed, these reports show how these losses produce a cascading crisis across ecosystems.  The report comes at a time when the Trump Administration is moving to reduce our commitment to climate change programs and agreements — putting the United States on a collision course with much of the world.

I had the opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel in reefs around Guam, Saipan, and Palau last month. The thought of the lost of these already shrinking areas is heartbreaking.  In addition, coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species and half a billion people around the world.  The loss of the reefs will also impact the oxygen that we believe.  They are called the underwater rainforests due to their contributions to oxygen production.  They are also habitats for one in four marine systems.

In addition to the loss of billions in revenue, essential ecosystems, reefs are also (like rainforests) a constant source for new cures and medicines.  We are destroying the two most important habitats for the environment as an unprecedented rate.

I realize that I am known as an environmentalist and outdoor addict, but logic would seem to dictate priority action on this global crisis. It is not just about some clown fish in Palau.  It is not simply stupid it is suicidal.  If these trends continue (and even if the 2050 date is off by a decade or so), it does not take a rocket scientist to see that this will not end well for us.

 

74 thoughts on “Study: 90 Percent of Coral Reefs Will Be Gone By 2050

  1. Scientists recently discovered that it was the scarcity of oxygen as the limiting factor that was behind the largest extinction event and slowest recovery that ever occurred, 250 million years ago. The oxygen was so low that, at sea level, it would have been like trying to breathe at 17,000 feet.

    http://www.washington.edu/news/2005/04/14/low-oxygen-likely-made-great-dying-worse-greatly-delayed-recovery/

    But, by all means, keep contaminating the ocean, and cutting down the rainforest for furniture, charcoal, South American cattle, palm plantations, and biofuel. If there are any areas of the world that should be considered national treasures intrinsic to our survival, the oceans and rainforests are it.

    We can pass all the expensive, glitzy climate change taxes, fees, cap and trade, and legislation that we wish. As long as we have China and India do our dirty work, such as scavenging electronic waste which produces toxins and manufacturing all the stuff we can’t live without but don’t want to dirty our land with producing, then we will have very little effect on the global pollution problem. We’ll sit our high horse, sanctimoniously taxing people into poverty, without actually improving anything.

  2. Wait a second! Obama said if we voted for him, the seas would stop rising, and he would singlehandedly stop Climate Change in its tracks! One single person could, all by himself, force the global climate to stop changing. I suppose that would have required the invasion of Russia, China, and India, the top polluters.

    So I did get a good chuckle when Hillary copied him and she, too, claimed that she, and only she, could singlehandedly stop climate change. I guess no one realized that Obama campaigned on that, and the problem should have been completely solved by now. What was it that the clock said in Beauty and the Beast</I about courting? "Promises you don't intend to keep?"

    • I know Trump claimed that only he could solve our problems. Obama and Clinton claiming that they alone could solve the world-wide problem of climate change? Perhaps Karen S is confusing them and Trump. I would be interested in seeing some evidence that either made the “I alone …” claim. Maybe they claimed that there would be no chance of climate solutions if their opponents who deny climate change were elected, but can they be faulted for that?

      • Obama was for treaties with regards to climate change and pollution. These ill-informed people that post here just make stuff up.

      • http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-chesapeake-pelton-20170314-story.html “Through his proposal for draconian cuts, Mr. Trump appears to want to go back in time before EPA was created in 1970 and polluters had more power and liberty. But we saw what that America was like, with waterways reeking with raw sewage and skies smeared with smog. Nobody voted for a dead Chesapeake Bay when they voted to “Make America Great Again.” ” Trump will be switching places with China.

        • On the one hand, I think the EPA needs a complete overhaul. They are in the hand of Monsanto, and appear to approve some very questionable pesticides and herbicides. They also have become rather infamous in rural areas for misapplying “wetland” designations. They made a power grab a few years ago which made them able to designate any runoff as a “wetland” and force you to lose your home. Homeowners cannot afford to pay $37,000/day in fines and hire lawyers to fight the unlimited coffers of the US government. They are an unthinking, unreasonable bureaucracy. They have been reprimanded by the Supreme Court for abusing citizens.

          Some of the regulations have gotten completely out of hand, without clear benefit to either the benefit or us citizens.

          On the other hand, I certainly do not want to completely gut environment protections and recreate the Lorax.

          We need commonsense reform, the EPA needs to have its excesses reined in, but we still need to protect endangered species, the environment, and our air and water.

          Sometimes, when an agency runs completely amuck, the reform pendulum sways way too far and they are demolished instead of repaired. I hope that does not happen in this case.

          But you know what they say- shining the light of public scrutiny has a disinfecting effect. So let’s get educated on the changes proposed and any effects.

      • we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

  3. More leftist nonsense. Coral reefs may disappear because of factors having nothing to do with any purported “climate-change.” (Personally, I prefer that leftists use their original bogus term, “global warming,” but they shifted from that bogus stance to another bogus stance in a vain attempt to appear “scientific.”)

    All this “climate-change nonsense springs from two things–and ONLY two things: (1) there’s BIG easy money in the climate-change racket, as high-priest Al Gore’s net worth, for example, zoomed from $2 million degrees to over $200 million degrees in a blaze of monetary heat–all due to his involvement in the racket; and (2) leftists are FILLED with a sense of self-importance that they are all-powerful and have this dynamic and permanent impact on the Universe, when, in truth, humanity is but the speck on the speck on a speck of a scintilla of an insignificant speck.

    Although the great comedian George Carlin is gone, his genius and insights live on. Carlin perfectly captures the ridiculous sense of self-importance and phony righteousness of the leftists in this clip:

    • There is an 8th grade chemistry experiment to demonstrate that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It is based on the experiments that physicist Tyndall conducted in the 1850s.

      Now the carbon dioxide concentration is 400 ppm, a level not seen since the mid-Pliocene, about 3.2 million years ago when the sea stand was about 25 meters higher than now and the global temperature was about 2 °C higher than now. So long as the carbon dioxide concentration remains around 400 ppm those conditions will repeat.

  4. I get the feeling that many people think it is utterly impossible that humans and human activity could affect our climate. If so, why is that? (This is separate from the argument that scientists are devious schemers who just want more money.)

  5. Keep on making this a political issue folks. Nature doesn’t care about politics, and politics doesn’t care about nature. If the Pols would stop making asses of themselves and acting for their own personal gain and benefit we could actually get somewhere. But a safer way is to understand they are never going to do what is necessary so people need to collectively empower themselves to effect the change.

    Getting so upset about what politicians do or don’t do in this matter shows that you have allowed yourselves to be controlled by them by deferring everything to their realm rather than taking charge and leaving them in the dust. Maybe then the pols might come into the fold when they are faced with the possibility of irrelevance. But if they don’t, well no skin of our noses.

    It’s rather simple but I recognize the public doesn’t value the matter enough, don’t buy products that lead to pollution, don’t buy from companies that harm conservation efforts, and reduce one’s need for products that cause pollution or waste energy and resources. It can be done, if only we realized the matters and accepted our own personal responsibility.

    Constantly having to listen to people injecting the words Trump, Obama and Gore into everything is counter productive, tiring, and frankly getting old. Garbage in…garbage out.

    • Great post, Darren.

      Organic food and ingredients in cosmetics has become a booming industry, all thanks to grassroots efforts. No government force required.

    • “Keep on making this a political issue folks. Nature doesn’t care about politics, and politics doesn’t care about nature.”
      *********************
      In the 70s, they railed about the new coming ice age. Now it’s the great dying due to increased temperatures. It’s not political to ask the experts to make up their damn minds or explain contradictory evidence like the growing Antarctica ice sheet. Nature and politics may not care a wit for each other but the folks who preach to us about both surely do.

  6. I would very much like to read this study. Where do i find it?

    Yes coral reefs die in one place and grow in another. Corals actually fight one another and kill one another over turf. Time lapsed photography show stronger more aggressive coral taking over the turf of their adversaries.

    The idea that somebody has measured all the reefs in the world is astounding. Some of the reefs here in Florida are doing quite well even under huge pressure. Tough little critters and they breed like rabbits.

  7. I think the difficulty that needs to be overcome is that these problems, assuming their validity, are so huge that the average citizen is given no concrete way to contribute, other than perhaps voting for someone or donating money to an advocacy organization. We thus easily revert to the old adage about not worrying about things we can’t control. If someone could figure out a way that people could meaningfully contribute, even in a small way, in retarding the effects of man-made climate change, I think you’d see greater concern and action.

  8. Would it be better if the East Coast did not have this blizzard which they experience today? I would like to see NYC without the need of snow plows. If Florida gets hotter then so what. They can handle heat. The reefs need to be saved somehow. Maybe do some research on modification of coral genes.

    • Not exclusively. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere regulates the heat retained.

      You could learn some basic science you know…

      • Paul Ehrlich knew plenty of ‘basic science’. So did some of the characters who gave you The Limits to Growth and the Global 2000 Report.

        • Paul Erlich didn’t comment on climate. For that matter, neither does Limits to Growth, which does, anyway, seem to on track.

  9. One aspect I have noted about Americans is that we tend to declare that there is only one main cause of a particular event or effect, rather than recognize the interaction of numerous causes and influences. Because of this, debate is generally limited to crediting or discrediting the dominantly accepted cause or arguing the supremacy of only one cause over the other.

    This narrow level of focus, or scope, treats cause and effect as absolutes and disregards that Cause A and Cause B are both relevant as are others of lesser profile.

    We need to start recognizing multifaceted subjects as systems rather than linear or monolithic constructs.

    • You can only talk about one thing at a time and time is limited. “Pick the main cause and discuss,” is what my old history prof used to say, “The education is in the picking.”

    • Well said, Darren. Many things will feed the dysfunction of a system.

      Loss of wetlands in the west reduces surface water for evaporation, changing weather patterns.

      Use of herbicides like Round-Up messes with the soil and water microbiome, affecting carbon sequestration.

      Use of petroleum-based fertilizer affects both, as well.

      Feeding cows corn (and junk like Skittles and gummy bears) affects their gut microbiome and increases methane emissions. Pasture-raised cows produce much less. This would also reduce the monocropping of corn and the use of the aforementioned Round-Up and other pesticides, herbicides, and petroleum-based fertilizers.

      A 5 page paper should have a single topic; a book can explore many subtopics pointing to the main topic. We can certainly discuss the subtopics, each in their own time, and there is time. Politicians do not want to do that because it cannot be easily reduced to a soundbite and requires sustained attention and the discipline to stay on track, neither of which occurs at a news conference.

  10. The number of cathouses in America goes down each year and is somehow attributable to global warming. If any of you folks out there go to Europe this year then give Amsterdam a five day stint.

  11. Mr. Turley,

    You have no evidence spending on warming mitigation strategies will alter the future condition of coral reefs. I know this without fear of contradiction because there is no empirical evidence to the contrary. These assertions are irresponsible, particularly in an age when many get the news in bumpersticker portions. I might be wrong about this. In fact, you may be aware of scienfifically valid evidence. In which case you should share and convert critics such as me. If you cannot, a retraction is in order.

    I am a very big personal fan. This post was a huge disappointment and disservice to your readers and the public at-large. Will you reply?

  12. Cleaning up the planet will create new industries and vast futures of wealth, education, jobs, etc. It’s a good thing. Cleaning up the planet will not do any harm. It’s a good thing. Cleaning up the planet will redistribute wealth. It’s a good thing. Cleaning up the planet will clean up the planet. It’s a good thing.

    So, why so much opposition? Ask those that voted for DDT.

    • Specious argument, Issac.

      I do not like most of Trump’s policies either. Eliminating the EPA completely is swinging the pendulum too far.

      Stating Trump voters are opposed to cleaning up the environment is inflammatory and unhelpful. Hillary would have very likely continued Obama’s corporatist policies:

      “don’t expect one of the last acts of the Obama administration to be to save US farmers and agricultural workers from the ravages of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

      All signs point to EPA caving to Monsanto, the company that markets glyphosate in its flagship Roundup herbicide.”

      http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/38751-obama-s-epa-has-a-weakness-for-monsanto

      That stance by Obama is doing plenty to not just harm people, but also the environment. Are his supporters against cleaning up the environment, too? From your argument, the answer must be yes.

      Rather than burn bridges to solutions with inflammatory rhetoric, let’s build them instead with finding common concerns and figuring out how to solve problems.

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