The Great Barrier Reef is still just currently recovering from the massive coral bleaching event that rendered great damage to 400 miles of its northern regions in 2016. Now experts are saying that the Great Barrier Reef as well as many of the world's reef systems are in serious danger if no stronger action is taken to reduce greenhouse gases.
After last year's massive damages to the world's reefs due to coral bleaching, marine biologists warn that the massive death of the world's reefs may not be the last in the next few years. In fact, given the state of things with regards to the battle with the consistently rising temperatures and sea levels, massive coral bleaching events such as the one last year could may well be an annual event by the year 2030 and beyond.
This is especially disturbing to experts given the fact that coral reefs take about 10 to 20 years to recover from a bleaching event.
Is The Paris Agreement Not Enough?
The Paris Agreement aims to significantly cut down greenhouse gasses and lessen the speed of the rising temperatures and other effects of climate change. That alone is an important factor in trying to save the reefs from further and more extreme damage due to coral bleaching, but experts are now saying that even the momentous agreement may not even be enough to save the reefs on time.
That's not saying that the Paris Agreement is not useful in tackling the problem of coral bleaching but that stronger and more direct actions especially from the home countries of these reefs are needed to really move forward in the uphill battle.
"The Paris agreement is good example of a co-ordinated effort to try and curb greenhouse gas emissions, and if we stick to it, it will reduce greenhouse gases, but even if we adhere to it, it won't buy that much more time for reefs," said Dr. Gareth Williams of Bangor University, co-author of a study that studied the implications of the Paris Agreement on the future of coral reefs.
As it stands, current coral reefs are facing massive deaths that may continue into the future. Just as 2017 began, the environment ministry of Japan has disclosed that 70 percent of their biggest coral reef is already dead. Not dying or bleached, but dead.
Though coral bleaching events are quite common, with a bleaching event occurring somewhere around the globe each year, what worries experts is the frequency, extensiveness, and intensity of the events that are not giving corals much time to recover. Even the corals' natural ability to handle such shocking events cannot keep up with the current temperature rise.
As such, experts warn that even though the Paris Agreement is a step toward saving coral reefs, it is but the first step in the worldwide efforts to save the world's coral reefs.