July 9 -The world's foremost marine scientists, attending a symposium in Queensland, Australia, are warning of dire consequences for coral reef systems if the issue of climate change is not addressed on a global level. The scientists are meeting in Cairns, a short boat ride away from the Great Barrier Reef which is itself, threatened by rising water temperatures. Rob Muir reports.
The green sea turtle, just one species threateaned by rising water temperatures along the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists from around the world were seeing it for themselves ahead of the four yearly International Coral Reef Symposium being held in the nearby city of Cairns. Laurence McCook from the Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says Flynn Reef is a perfect example of what they're trying to preserve (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAURENCE MCCOOK, BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK AUTHORITY, SAYING: "I think the people who are seeing it for the first time are going to be blown away. It's just a magic, magic place. It's one of the special treasures on the earth." But its a treasure at risk. Over-fishing, pollution and particularly, climate change are taking their toll, bleaching coral and decimating the animal life that depend on it. Scientists like Imogen Zethoven have come to assess the long term-risks and push policy-makers to take action (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMOGEN ZETHOVEN, PEW ENVIRONMENT GROUP, SAYING: "In the longer term, all reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, no matter how well it's managed, has a very perilous future because of climate change." And the problems affecting the Great Barrier Reef, affect reef systems all over the world. Two thousand scientists from eighty countries are in Cairns this week to find solutions and the majority agree that time is running out. Rob Muir, Reuters