The Great Barrier Reef is not dead, yet

Last week an obituary of the Great Barrier Reef went viral, but as scientists claim, this is premature. While the situation is critical, it is not completely hopeless. 

Our oceans are under attack now by climate change as over 93 percent of the heat trapped by carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases is going to the oceans according to the 4th IPCC report. This does not help coral live and thrive, as they require moderately warm temperatures.

As The Guardian explained :

Despite the rather tongue-in-cheek nature of the obituary various news outlets, including the Sun in Britain and the New York Post in the US, and social media users have rushed to mourn the supposed passing of the Great Barrier Reef. The ecosystem lies off the east coast of Australia and is the largest living entity on the planet.

But scientists have stressed that while the Great Barrier Reef, like most coral structures around the world, is under severe stress, it hasn’t quite snuffed it yet.

“This is a fatalistic, doomsday approach to climate change that isn’t going to engage anyone and misinforms the public,” said Kim Cobb, a coral reef expert at Georgia Tech. “There will be reefs in 2050, including portions of the Great Barrier Reef, I’m pretty confident of that. I’m put off by pieces that say we are doomed.”

So while we are still on our way towards catastrophic climate change, we still can change course and prevent the worse from occuring. China is moving fast on clean energy, the United States is doing its part and the European Union’s emissions are 23 percent lower than they were in 1990. The Paris Agreements will come into force in a few days. While this is insufficient, it is still several steps in the right direction.

Sure, a paradigm shift is required, and quickly. But we can make it if countries, businesses and communities as well as individuals move collectivelly in the right direction. Where there is Life, there is Hope.

Image credits: The Guardian. 

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