Thursday, May 14, 2009

Climate change and impact on coral reefs and fishing

Climate change, and the efforts needed to counter it, are among some of the hottest topics in the last 1-2 decades; it is also easy to see that the effort to discuss the needs for combating climate change is more than actual work being done to reduce emissions (climate change needs quick action and some aggressive goals of reducing emissions, and they are nowhere near happening). Nations get into political arguments when discussions start; the main major polluter (the United States) refuses to take action because of the feared effect on its economy, Europe looks to somebody for taking the lead on this, and the fast developing nations such as China, India, Brazil, etc who are still current low contributors but will have a much higher impact on emissions going forward want to get funding from the rich before taking action.
And in the middle of all this, the world keeps getting hotter, and the changes that are being made due to the global warming phenomenon keeps on working to its own cycle. Global warming is supposed to affect poor nations much more than it will affect the richer nations (and it will affect nations that are more sea based much more than nations that are bigger land masses) since some of the changes being caused due to global warming are higher sea levels and changes in weather patterns that affect crop cycles. Another way in which global warming directly affects the world food economy is due to the impact on fishing, and a study points out that the rich fishing waters near Southeast Asia will get severely impacted (link to article):

Experts have warned that the richly diverse coral reefs of the Coral Triangle around southeast Asia will disappear by the end of the century if action is not taken against climate change. As well as the loss of one of the world's most diverse underwater ecosystems, the knock on effect would be the collapse of coastal economies that supports around 100 million people, according to the WWF- commissioned study outlined at the World Ocean Conference this week.
The Coral Triangle includes 30 percent of the world's reefs, 76 percent of global reef building coral species and more than 35 percent of coral reef fish. "In this world, people see the biological treasures of the Coral Triangle destroyed over the course of the century by rapid increases in ocean temperature, acidity and sea level, while the resilience of coastal environments also deteriorates under faltering coastal management. Poverty increases, food security plummets, economies suffer, and coastal people migrate increasingly to urban areas."

The report concludes that unless we take action to rollback some of the effects of global warming, the direct impact on fishing will cause huge problems to the global fishing economy and impact people who are dependent on fishing as both livelihood and for their food needs, and yet, if one evaluates where we are with trying to roll back emission levels, it is still talk and no action. The Obama administration, for all its talk about making changes in the Bush administration policy of action on global warming, has not taken any concrete action.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 7:10 PM