Fifth of Coral Reefs Dead: Study

Pollution leads to warmer, more acidic seas, scientists say
By Green Point,  Newser User
Posted Dec 11, 2008 4:16 PM CST
In this photo taken in March 2007, a healthy reef on the Achenese Mainland is seen.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A fifth of the world’s coral reefs have died or been destroyed, says a study released to the UN yesterday. In it, marine scientists warned that the future of marine life and the $30 billion economic value of reefs are increasingly threatened by climate change. The report also zeroed in on other hazards, like pollution, over-fishing and natural disasters, the Guardian reports.

Millions of coastal dwellers depend on corals for their livelihood, but the remaining 45% of healthy reefs are also at risk, says a member of a reef-monitoring network. With CO2 emissions expected to double within 50 years unless something is done to reduce them, “we could effectively lose coral reefs as we know them, with major coral extinctions,” Clive Wilkinson adds.