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EPA: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Nearly Decimate Coral Reef

posted: 06/26/15
by: Danny Clemens
Squirrelfish Swimming by Coral
Corbis
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency paints a grim future for the future of marine wildlife in the United States.

The peer-reviewed report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, details the impacts to human health, infrastructure and the environment if greenhouse gas emissions continue unmitigated.

According to the report, marine wildlife will suffer irreparably if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Coral reef cover in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Florida will dwindle to less than 1% over the next century as oceans continue to acidify. Ocean acidity has increased nearly 30% since the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century.

Greenhouse gas-induced climate change will also impact freshwater fish populations, which are estimated to decline by 62% this century as 440,000 acres of stream habitat are lost. The decline will effectively eliminate freshwater fisheries in Appalachia.

The good news: reducing greenhouse gas emissions now could dramatically reduce the impact on wildlife. More than 80% of marine wildlife losses can be prevented if immediate preventative action is taken.

Furthermore, emission reductions can save the United States 12,000 lives that would otherwise be lost to pollution-related causes and nearly $200 billion in damages.

Click here to read the full report from the Environmental Protection Agency
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