[Coral-List] CO2 risks for coral reefs

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Fri Aug 21 12:24:18 EDT 2015

Agree with the sentiment, but disagree slightly on the details of what you said.  1) Yes, it will take time, but we can be passive and see a long-drawn-out shift away from fossil fuels, or we can be more pro-active and achieve the shift much more rapidly - second is clearly preferable if we want to minimize damage to the oceans, and 2) as well as reducing/eliminating CO2 emissions, we can maximize rates at which CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere by encouraging reforestation and afforestation, encouraging no-till farming practices and use of perennial rather than annual crops, and by developing technologies for sequestering CO2, CH4 preferably in solid materials, either capturing the gases at source, or extracting them from the atmosphere.  The new technologies would increase the rate at which we pull atmospheric concentrations back, thereby getting reefs and oceans back to a less damaging place.

In other words, we can be more proactive in reducing damage to reefs and oceans from warming and acidification.  If we do this, and also act to actually manage the local pressures of overfishing and pollution, we bring reefs through this tight spot relatively unscathed.  If we go forward as we currently are doing, making minimal efforts to reduce GHG emissions, reefs disappear, and the oceans are seriously acidified, both to the detriment of humanity because we need the goods and services they provide us.

Main effort at present should be to push, in advance of Paris talks, for CO2 less than 350ppm - a much more demanding target than the 2 degree limit set at Copenhagen.

Peter Sale

More information about the Coral-List mailing list