After several successful screenings at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film festival and some interesting Q&A sessions with locals of all ages, we thought it was time for a round up of the latest reef news… since the film was completed 2 years ago, has there been any change in the projected fortunes of the world’s reefs?
Overall, the answer appears to be a resounding no…
Take this article from the Guardian in late August, about the upcoming IPCC report and the ‘Inhospitable Oceans’ report:
‘Rapidly rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are causing a potential catastrophe in our oceans as they become more acidic, scientists have warned… However, the process of acidification takes decades and the worst effects on some species could still be avoided if emissions are urgently reduced. “The ocean is changing already, mostly due to temperature – acidification will exacerbate those effects,” Poertner said.’
Another Guardian article, last week adds:
‘In the starkest warning yet of the threat to ocean health, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) said: “This [acidification] is unprecedented in the Earth’s known history. We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure. The next mass extinction may have already begun.” It published its findings in the State of the Oceans report, collated every two years from global monitoring and other research studies.’
Another report, earlier this year, in Science Daily notes that:
‘To prevent coral reefs around the world from dying off, deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions are required, says a new study from Carnegie’s Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira. They find that all existing coral reefs will be engulfed in inhospitable ocean chemistry conditions by the end of the century if civilization continues along its current emissions trajectory.’
Another Science Daily article sounds a positive note:
‘The seeding of marine clouds to cool sea surface temperatures could protect threatened coral reefs from being bleached by warming oceans. Research, published in Atmospheric Science Letters, proposes that a targeted version of the geo-engineering technique could give coral a fifty year ‘breathing space’ to recover from acidification and warming.’
When the IPCC report was released, New Scientist had this to say:
“Hundreds of thousands of words will be written about the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here, in 10 words, is the bottom line: we have to leave most fossil fuels in the ground. It really is that simple.’
And echo of that sentiment came in this interesting article:
‘The fall of the Soviet Union created the largest ever human-made carbon sink – abandoned farmland.’
As time goes by, it becomes more apparent that governments and big business will drag their feet when it comes to CO2 emissions, climate change and acidification… take this news from Germany, for example, in which Germany is delaying the EU CO2 vehicle emissions limit by 4 years.
Seeding clouds feels like a small hope in the face of such massive governmental and industrial obstacles, but perhaps geo-engineering is our greatest hope after all… we’ll follow this up in a later post…