The Great Barrier Reef will be so degraded by warming waters that it will be unrecognizable within 20 years, an eminent marine scientist has said.
Charlie Veron, former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, told The Times: "There is no way out, no loopholes. The Great Barrier Reef will be over within 20 years or so."
Once carbon dioxide had hit the levels predicted for between 2030 and 2060, all coral reefs were doomed to extinction, he said. "They would be the worldâ€™s first global ecosystem to collapse. I have the backing of every coral reef scientist, every research organization. Iâ€™ve spoken to them all. This is critical. This is reality."
Dr Veronâ€™s comments came as the Zoological Society of London, the Royal Society and the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) held a crucial meeting on the future of coral reefs in London yesterday. In a joint statement they warned that by mid-century extinctions of coral reefs around the world would be inevitable.