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May 2001 Vol. 16, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Coral, Science, and George W.

from the May, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A reef conference in Indonesia last year brought the hard facts of coral reef distribution:

* More than a quarter of the worlds coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution and global warming.

* In the Maldives and Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, up to 90 percent of coral reefs have been killed over the past two years by an increase in water temperature from the El Nio weather pattern.

* Half of Indonesias coral reefs are dead and the other half could soon follow suit.

* The loss of the coral reefs would also be a devastating blow to the medical industry, which is exploring the possibility that the marine ecosystems may unlock secrets to new medicines.

* Unless drastic measures are taken by the major nations to cut global warming, most of the remaining reefs may be dead in 20 years.

* The loss of the reefs would threaten the livelihood of half a billion people around the world who rely on them for food and income. People in poorer countries may not be able to find alternate sources of income and may become reliant on foreign aid.

While global warming is not mentioned in the environmental policy section of President Bushs website, during the debate he said, I dont think we know the solution to global warming yet and I dont think weve got all the facts before we make decisions ... Theres a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think its best to have the full accounting, full understanding of whats taking place. By rejecting the international pact to reduce greenhouse gases --- the Kyoto protocol --- and by making other policy pronouncements that do nothing to slow global warming, the President is failing to take responsibility for an issue that concerns all divers, indeed all people and nations.

If you dont think our coral reefs can wait around for the President to get a full understanding about whats taking place, you may wish to write him, in care of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20500. Or send him an e-mail at: president@whitehouse.gov.

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