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Israel, global warming, and our coral reefs.

December 24, 2007

The Jerusalem Post has an enlightening article about the wake-up call Israeli decision makers are getting in the aftermath of the Bali summit this month.

Though Israeli did not have a formal delegation at the summit, members of the Knesset as well as staff from an assortment of environmental NGOs attended.

“Israel cannot afford to continue with the status quo. As a country that wants to be considered a top economic competitor, it can’t be ranked with developing countries over greenhouse gas emissions. Countries we consider the Third World are ahead of us when it comes to fighting greenhouse gases,” said MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor), who also chairs the Knesset Committee on the Interior and the Environment.

And now, marine scientists from across the globe have published a major study arguing that global warming will cause incredible damage to the coral reefs of the world.

At stake, added Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Center for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia, and the study’s senior author, are ecosystems that play vital roles in providing habitats for a vast array of marine species that are essential to the oceans’ complex food chain. They also provide livelihoods to 100 million people who live along the coasts of tropical developing countries. Diving tourism in the Caribbean alone is estimated to generate more than $100 billion a year. The loss of coral reef ecosystems also is exposing people to flooding, coastal erosion and the loss of food and income from reef-based fisheries and tourism, he added.

Hopefully this wake-up call to Israel’s leaders isn’t coming too late.

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