Climate Change Impacts to Coral Reefs

Part of my interest in attending the 15th COP is to understand how climate change impacts to the oceans are featuring in these environmental negotiations.
In this spirit, I attended today’s U.S. Center science presentation on “Coral Reefs and Climate Change: the link between reef resilience and human well-being“.
The side event featured 4 prominent political figures and scientists including the French Ambassador to Denmark (who was involved due to the number of overseas island territories that France holds in the South Pacific Ocean), Ove Hoegh Guldberg (a prominant coral reef biologist from Australia), Ronny Jumeau (Seychelles Ambassador to the United Nations) and Jerker Tamelander (from IUCN’s global marine team).
For those of you that regret not having attended this talk (and I know there are a lot of you!) here are the take home points (that also stress how reasonable AOSIS’ proposal truly is):
1. (carbonate) coral reef ecosystems are simply unsustainable beyond 450 ppm (CO2) or global temperatures of 2 degrees C above preindustrial values.
2. eliminating coral reef habitats will lead to the extinction of 10-20% of marine species who depend on coral reefs for their existence.
3. losing coral reefs will have enormouse consequences for food and income of over 500 million coastal people living in 90 nation states.
4. longer term consequences include reduced coastal protection which will exacerbate the impacts of higher sea levels and stronger storms.
That’s it for now but more to come as the COP 15 Oceans day (a first!) approaches on December 14th…