Don’t let ‘climate’ crush coral efforts

Following a recent international coral science conference, CEED researcher Jennifer McGowan led a short correspondence to Nature asking to researchers and managers not to lose sight of where they can make the most difference.

“The message of the correspondence aims to unite the coral reef science and management communities after the International Coral Reef Symposium held in Hawaii last June,” explains McGowan. “The conference brought together over 2,500 of the most prolific and influential people working on coral reefs. “With the juggernaut of climate change as the centerpiece, despondent group discussions and panels focused on the need for global-scale initiatives that will hold the worst carbon polluters more accountable, halt the human population growth rate, and reengineer a capitalist system that ignores the health and wellbeing of biodiversity.

“We argue that these conversations are unproductive for environmental managers and scientists on the ground. Few individuals have a platform to engage with global political leaders to drive the conservation agenda and influence policies that will affect climate trajectories. “We suggest we missed an opportunity to unite our collective efforts behind cost-efficient actions that deliver measurable, ‘uncertainty-proof’, benefits at a local scale.”

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Jennifer McGowan J, HP Possingham & K Anthony (2016). Conservation: Don’t let climate crush coral effort. Nature 536.

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