Unless we act now, we could lose all reefs by 2050, risking the food source and livelihood of half a billion people.
Coral reefs are a critical global ecosystem. They support 25% of all marine life worldwide, and are estimated to have a conservative value of $1 trillion, generating $300-400 billion each year in terms of food and livelihoods from tourism, fisheries, and medicines (WWF 2015, Smithsonian Institute).
For many years, coral reefs have been in global decline because of local issues such as pollution and overfishing. Some regions, like the Caribbean, have already lost over 80% of corals. Climate change is now further impacting coral reefs and is proving to be an even greater threat.
In the next 30 years, approximately 90% of coral reefs will die due to climate change (even if the targets set by the Paris climate agreement are achieved). This loss of coral reefs will impact over 500 million people around the world who rely on reefs for food and income.
If we don’t act now to save what we can, all reefs will disappear.
– The good news is, some reefs are far less vulnerable to climate change than others and through science we can identify them — Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute