Coral reefs may not survive global warming

hgh-res-green reefA decade ago when Margaret and Christine Wertheim started the Crochet Coral Reef project, they joked that if the Great Barrier Reef ever died out, their woolly reef would be something to remember it by. New research compiled by the international agency Climate Analytics warns that most coral reefs won’t survive a 2˚C rise in temperature and the world is now on target to break that limit. If reefs are to make it through, the researchers say, humans need to restrict global warming to no more than 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels, which would at least allow “some chance for a fraction of the world’s coral reefs to survive.” 1.5˚C is probably an impossible goal, requiring carbon emissions to peak by the end of this decade then radically decline, with a future “carbon budget” of just 250 billion tonnes of CO2. That’s approximately six years worth of our present emissions. This sobering news comes as the IFF is preparing for our Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, opening September 15, 2016. The historic photo above was one of the Wertheim’s first handicraft reefs, dating back to 2006, just when scientists were beginning to link reef degradation to climate change.