Greenpeace: Bali reefs face climate threat

Feature story - June 3, 2007
Greenpeace highlighted the imminent threat of climate change induced coral bleaching to the coral biodiversity of Bali Barat National Park, a focal point for reef conservation in Indonesia and a major destination for reef-oriented tourism. Indonesia is recognized to have one of the highest marine biodiversity in the world—home to 488 coral species of the known 500 coral species worldwide.

Greenpeace today highlighted the imminent threat of climate change induced coral bleaching to the coral biodiversity of Bali Barat National Park, a focal point for reef conservation in Indonesia and a major destination for reef-oriented tourism. Indonesia is recognized to have one of the highest marine biodiversity in the world—home to 488 coral species of the known 500 coral species worldwide.

Greenpeace today highlighted the imminent threat of climate change induced coral bleaching to the coral biodiversity of Bali Barat National Park, a focal point for reef conservation in Indonesia and a major destination for reef-oriented tourism. Indonesia is recognized to have one of the highest marine biodiversity in the world—home to 488 coral species of the known 500 coral species worldwide.

Greenpeace today highlighted the imminent threat of climate change induced coral bleaching to the coral biodiversity of Bali Barat National Park, a focal point for reef conservation in Indonesia and a major destination for reef-oriented tourism. Indonesia is recognized to have one of the highest marine biodiversity in the world—home to 488 coral species of the known 500 coral species worldwide.

"Climate change is a major threat to the Bali's coral reef ecosystem. The prediction of more frequent El Nino phenomena and increasing sea surface temperature due to climate change is worrying indeed," said Ketut Sudiarta, Coral Reef Expert from the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Studies of Bali's Warmadewa University. "Bali's reefs already suffer from conventional stresses but now face a very uncertain future because of climate change."

According to Sudiarta, coral bleaching affected almost all parts of Bali in 1997 and 1998, disintegrating soft corals in the regions of Nusa Penida, Nusa Dua, Amed, Buleleng and Bali Barat (West Bali). Bali Barat and Amed were two of the worst-hit areas.  

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report projected that increases in sea surface temperature of about 1 to 3°C would result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality.  

Projections of future sea temperature increase due to climate change suggest that conditions will develop that are vastly different to those in which the majority of coral reefs have developed over the last 400,000 years. Experts predict future increases in global sea temperatures of 1.4-5.8ºC by 2100, suggesting that mass bleaching events, which may be induced at only 1-2ºC above normal summer

temperatures, will increase in frequency and severity. Within the next 30 years they are projected to occur every year in most tropical oceans.

"Ultimately, the survival of the reefs in Bali and other tropical regions depends on halting the catastrophic phenomenon of climate change. And the only way to do that is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, especially burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil that is responsible for the bulk of emissions," said Nur Hidayati, Climate and Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Phasing in of energy efficiency and a massive uptake of renewable energy is one way to stop global warming and yet secure the world's energy needs," Hidayati added.

Read the weblog entry!

Jasper, Greenpeace South East Asia climate and energy campaigner, took time out from a coal industry conference in Bali to go coral diving.

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