Sunday, April 3, 2011

Expert warns of reef climate change deadline

 By Kirsty Nancarrow 

ABC Online, Posted April 4, 2011      

See also CSIRO boss backs carbon price

A Queensland climate change scientist says the world has only another decade to reduce greenhouse gasses to save the Great Barrier Reef. 

The director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Professor Ove Hoegh Guldberg, is addressing a climate change conference in Cairns in the far north today. 

Professor Hoegh says coral bleaching events are becoming more frequent because of rising sea temperatures and levels. 

He says good management and the low population along the Great Barrier Reef have helped it bounce back in the past, but it could be gone in 40 years if carbon emissions are not reduced. 

"If we actually act today we can save the Great Barrier Reef and reefs around the world," he said. "What it'll take is a very concerted global effort to remove these dangerous gasses from the atmosphere." 

He says climate modelling shows sea temperatures and ocean acidification will soon rise to levels that cannot sustain coral reefs. 

"We're really right at the crossroads right now," he said. "If we go another 10 years of pumping two parts per million or more CO2 into the atmosphere, we'll pass a point at which we won't be able to constrain further temperature increases and greenhouse gas concentrations that will allow reefs to persist."

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