Environment

Coral reefs around the world are under severe threat.

Caribbean corals are under immediate threat and urgent action was needed to limit pollution and aggressive fishing practices. Average live coral cover on Caribbean reefs has declined to just 8 percent today compared to more than 50 percent in the 1970s.

As more and more carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere, sea water turns more acidic which can hinder calcification which is crucial for corals’ growth.

Warmer sea surface temperatures are likely to trigger more frequent and more intense mass coral bleaching, which is when reefs turn pale. Although corals can survive bleaching, if the heat persists they can die. This happened in 1998 when 16 percent of corals were lost in a single, prolonged period of warmth worldwide.

Warmer ocean temperatures and acidification are also placing the Great Barrier Reef off Australia under stress.

Coral reefs are home to almost a quarter of the world’s ocean species, they provide coastal protection and can support tourism and fishing industries for millions of people worldwide.

Storms and Floods

Powerful typhoon Sanba lashed North and South Korea with strong wind and heavy rain Monday, killing at least one person, leaving dozens of others homeless and cutting power to many homes and businesses in the South. The storm is expected to make a final landfall in northern South Korea/Russia.