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May 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Coral Reefs Are Dying Everywhere

and divers should be up in arms

from the May, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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In 2016, more than 50 percent of the 70,000 coral colonies in 13 countries were bleached and dead, including large sections of Australia's Great Barrier Reef -- scientists says hundreds of miles of it, stretching across the formerly pristine northern sector; the more southerly sections that barely escaped last year's bleaching are subject to this precursor of another die-off.

Terry P. Hughes, director of a government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University, has said, "We didn't expect to see this level of destruction for another 30 years."

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has had a healthy existence for 25 million years. It is getting wiped out in two or three mere decades. Global warming deniers -- many of whom are disciples of the fossil fuel industry -- may attribute this to some other phenomenon, but the facts are there for all to see. And the U.S. government, also heavily influenced by the same industry, is uniquely remorseless in its attitude toward the problem.

The state of coral reefs is a telling sign of the health of the seas and a marker of the ravages of global climate change. Hughes' aerial surveys, combined with underwater measurements, found that 67 percent of corals had died in a long stretch north of Port Douglas.

Furthermore, tropical cyclone Debbie smashed into the GBR in March, and caused even more damage in a 60-mile (100km)-wide corridor.

Australia is Not Alone...

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