Coral reefs will be gone by the end of the century, according to a top UN Scientist. This would give coral reefs the dubious accolade of being the first entire ecosystem to have been destroyed by human activity.
In the recently published book 'Our Dying Planet', Professor Peter Sale writes that coral reef ecosystems are very likely to disappear by the end of this century, in what would be "a new first for mankind – the 'extinction' of an entire ecosystem".
Sale, who leads a team at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, reports that the decline in coral reefs is mainly due to climate change and ocean acidification. Other activities, including overfishing, pollution and coastal development, have also had a devastating impact on the world’s coral reefs.
"We're creating a situation where the organisms that make coral reefs are becoming so compromised by what we're doing that many of them are going to be extinct, and the others are going to be very, very rare," says Sale.