WWF warns risk of massive destruction by climate change

May 14, 2009 3:19 am 

MANADO, Indonesia, May 13 — The World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) on Wednesday warned that coral reefs would disappear by the end of the century if the world did not take effective action on climate change.

This would also result in 80 percent of declining ability for coastal environment to feed people and at the same time around 100 million people would have their livelihoods severely impacted, the international organization said at the ongoing World Ocean Conference held here.

However, the WWF said, effective global actions on climate change and regional attention to problems of over-fishing and pollution would prevent the catastrophe. "In one world scenario, we continue along our current climate trajectory and do little to protect coastal environments from onslaught of local threats," Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland, the study leader, told reporters at the conference.

He said people saw the biological treasures of the Coral Triangle destroyed over the course of the century by rapid increases in ocean temperature, acidity and rising sea level while the resilience of coastal environmental also deteriorates under faltering coastal management.

"That would lead to increasing poverty, plummeting food security, economic suffer and increasing migration of coastal people to urban areas," he said.

Tens of millions of people would be forced to move from rural and coastal settings due to loss of homes, food resources and income, which would put pressure on regional cities and surrounding developed nations such as Australia and New Zealand, he said.

However, the reports also showed there was an opportunity to avoid a worst-case scenario in the region by reducing greenhouse gas emission significantly, backed by international investment in strengthening the region's natural environment. (PNA/Xinhua)

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