50 REEFS TO SAVE AN ECOSYS­TEM

Asian Diver (English) - - Science - By The Ocean Agency

“WHAT WE AL­READY

know about the fu­ture of our co­ral reefs is alarm­ing: With­out im­me­di­ate ac­tion, we could lose this cru­cial ecosys­tem en­tirely within a few short decades,” said Paul G. Allen, phi­lan­thropist and Mi­crosoft co-founder. “What we don’t yet know is ex­actly where to fo­cus crit­i­cal con­ser­va­tion ef­forts to en­sure the long-term sur­vival of co­ral reef habi­tats.”

50 Reefs will be the first global plan to save the most bio­di­verse ecosys­tem on the planet. The aim is to iden­tify a list of high-priority co­ral reefs that have the best chance of sur­viv­ing cli­mate change, and which will aid the re­cov­ery of co­ral reef ecosys­tems once global tem­per­a­tures have sta­bilised. The launch comes at a per­ilous mo­ment for co­ral reefs, as cur­rent es­ti­mates in­di­cate that 90 per­cent will dis­ap­pear by 2050.

The list will be an­nounced in late 2017 and will rep­re­sent a di­verse “port­fo­lio of reefs” to max­imise returns for bio­di­ver­sity, ecosys­tems and peo­ple. This sci­ence-based ini­tia­tive in­tends to pro­tect enough co­ral to en­sure the reestab­lish­ment of co­ral reef re­sources in a cli­mate-sta­ble fu­ture.

THE “A TEAM”

The 50 Reefs ini­tia­tive builds on The Ocean Agency and the Global Change In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Queens­land’s shared ex­pe­ri­ence car­ry­ing out the most com­pre­hen­sive global sur­vey of co­ral reefs and co­ral bleaching ever recorded (in part­ner­ship with Google and XL Catlin). This work is also the sub­ject of the 2017 Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val Au­di­ence Award win­ning doc­u­men­tary, Chas­ing Co­ral, which will be re­leased world­wide on Net­flix.

A unique phil­an­thropic coali­tion of in­no­va­tors in busi­ness, tech­nol­ogy and gov­ern­ment are sup­port­ing 50 Reefs, led by Bloomberg Phi­lan­thropies with The Tif­fany & Co. Foun­da­tion and The Paul G. Allen Fam­ily Foun­da­tion, with the aim of pre­vent­ing the worst eco­nomic, so­cial, and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of this enor­mous cri­sis.

A rad­i­cal new global plan to save co­ral reefs from com­plete erad­i­ca­tion is bring­ing to­gether the world’s lead­ing ocean, cli­mate and ma­rine sci­en­tists and con­ser­va­tion prac­ti­tion­ers to de­velop a list of the 50 most crit­i­cal co­ral reefs to pro­tect.

ALL HANDS ON DECK

“When peo­ple think of cli­mate change, they of­ten think of ex­treme heat, se­vere storms, and rag­ing wild­fires. But some of the most dis­as­trous ef­fects of cli­mate change are out of sight – on the ocean floor. In fact, 90 per­cent of co­ral reefs are ex­pected to dis­ap­pear by 2050 and sav­ing the re­main­ing co­ral reefs crit­i­cal.

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