Living coral reefs may no longer exist by the time our grandchildren reach maturity, before the end of this century. "We've wiped out a lot of species over the years. This will be the first time we've actually eliminated an entire ecosystem," laments ecologist Peter F Sale, in Our Dying Planet, his latest book, published by University of California Press. It's full of nasty surprises.
For instance, Sale examines the impact of the world's petroleum and coal use. When 250 million years' worth of stored carbon is released into the atmosphere during just 150 years, there are consequences. Nearly one-third of the carbon dioxide spewed into the air gets absorbed by the ocean, turning saltwater increasingly acidic, especially in relatively shallow reef areas.
My review of this important book about the future of life on a warmer earth is posted on ChinaDialogue, an international website where China and the world discuss the environment.