Reducing the impacts of climate change

Climate change doesn’t just threaten the Coral Triangle’s coral reefs, fish and mangroves—it can undermine communities and stability in a region that is extremely reliant on natural resources. This calls for improved awareness of solutions and a solid engagement, from governments to individuals.
 / ©: Jürgen FREUND / WWF-Canon
WWF researcher monitoring coral reef Sulu Sea, Tubbataha reef Philippines
© Jürgen FREUND / WWF-Canon
Climate change is already having a big impact on marine and coastal ecosystems in the Coral Triangle—by warming, acidifying and rising sea levels.

Two severe mass coral bleaching events that resulted in significant destruction of reefs worldwide are also linked to climate change; in 1998, coral bleaching destroyed over 16% of the world’s reefs, also degrading reefs in the Coral Triangle.

If greenhouse gas emission continue to rise on their current path, many parts of the Coral Triangle will be unlivable by the end of this century.

What climate change could mean for the Coral Triangle

  • Seas will be warmer by 1-4 °C. Coral reefs are highly threatened by small surges in ocean temperatures and increases of more than 2 °C will eliminate most coral-dominated reef systems.
  • Acidic seas will drive reef collapse. Many coral reefs may begin to collapse if the concentration of global CO2 reaches a dangerous level.
  • More intense and longer floods and droughts. It seems likely that rainfall events will become more extreme and the annual variability of monsoon rainfall will increase.
  • Sea level rise may reach 6 m in places. By 2100, projections from the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC suggest that seas will rise by 30-60 cm.
  • More intense cyclones and typhoons.
  • More violent weather events are predicted, especially for the Philippines and the Solomon Islands.
  • El Niño events could lead to more climate variability.

What WWF is doing

  • Creating awareness of the observed and projected impacts of climate change. The overwhelming scientific consensus and observations from communities around the world point to the same urgent priority—prevent global temperatures from rising to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
     
  • Working at the frontlines of globa impact negotiations. WWF's mandate is to craft a strong and effective global 'climate deal' that puts us on the path to a low-carbon economy. At the same time, we must increase investments in actions that enable people and ecosystems to adapt to a rapidly changing climate.
     
  • Engaging all sectors of society. We are using WWF's global network to better activate leaders within the Coral Triangle amongst local communities, businesses and the scientific world. For example, we are developing partnerships with the tourism industry to reduce its carbon footprint and to become more active in protecting the natural systems on which it depends.

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