Over the last few years, knowledge about the effects of rising heat and CO2 levels in the atmosphere on coral reefs, those bizarre, multicultural underwater gardens, has proliferated. One of the newest reports, published this past March, predicts that if atmospheric carbon levels reach double what they are now – 750 parts per million – coral reefs will start to grow so slowly that they won't keep themselves from dissolving.
Coral has already been dubbed a canary in a coalmine, due to its sensitivity to temperature and acidity, which make it a kind of first warning for the environmental changes wrought by rising global temperature and atmospheric carbon. We dive in to that canary-like sensitivity, and the complex life of a reef, in this new PopSci Comic.
The president sets in motion the largest ocean preserve ever—but will industry kill it?
By Sharon GuynupPosted 11.26.2008 at 11:57 am 5 Comments
Bush's proposal would preserve up to 700,000 square miles of the central Pacific, including the Mariana Trench, and protect sea life, such as leatherback turtles and coral reefs.
Georgette Douwma/Getty Images
In his eight years as president, George W. Bush has done little to win the hearts of conservationists. Opponents criticize his backing of widespread drilling and mining projects, lax oversight of industrial pollution, and recent attempts to dismantle the 36-year-old Endangered Species Act.
But now, as he's leaving office, the 43rd president is attempting to "blue" his legacy by granting national-monument status to a string of pristine islands, atolls and coral reefs in the center of the Pacific Ocean.