This comes from the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, meeting in Cairns this week. I think the statement is largely accurate, although it exaggerates threats to corals from local factors like fishing and pollution. The second phrase of the final sentence (in bold) is demonstrably false; “A concerted effort to preserve reefs for the future demands action at global levels, but also will benefit hugely from continued local protection.” First, there is very little effective local protection for reefs. So I don’t know what the statement means by “continued”. Less the 1% of the world’s reefs are even in marine reserves – few of which are fully or even partially enforced. Second, although local protection could in theory mitigate local problems, it is pretty clear that only the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can limit the impacts of global change. Learn more about coral reefs and climate change here.
The international Coral Reef Science Community calls on all governments to ensure the future of coral reefs, through global action to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and via improved local protection of coral reefs. Coral reefs are important ecosystems of ecological, economic and cultural value yet they are in decline worldwide due to human activities. Land-based sources of pollution, sedimentation, overfishing and climate change are the major threats, and all of them are expected to increase in severity.
Changes already observed over the last century:
By the end of this century:
Other stresses faced by corals and reefs:
Future impacts on coral reefs:
Across the globe, these problems cause a loss of reef resources of enormous economic and cultural value. A concerted effort to preserve reefs for the future demands action at global levels, but also will benefit hugely from continued local protection.