Well, sixty seconds in a geological context – actually by 2050. Coral reefs have been on the planet for aeons, but one extra molecule of CO2 out of every ten thousand in the atmosphere caused by your SUV is enough to finish them off in less than 40 years:
The world’s coral reefs could be wiped out by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to stop threats posed to the “rainforests of the sea” by everything from overfishing to climate change, a report warned Wednesday.
Warmer seas caused by global warming; ocean acidification blamed on carbon dioxide pollution; shipping, overfishing, coastal development and agricultural runoff all pose a threat to coral reefs, which hundreds of millions of people depend on for a living, says the report.
“Threats on land, along the coast and in the water are converging in a perfect storm of threats to reefs,” Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said at a news conference in Washington to launch the “Reefs at Risk Revisited” report.
According to the report, which follows on from an earlier study on the health of the world’s coral reefs, more than 90 percent of reefs will be threatened by 2030 and nearly all reefs will be at risk by 2050 unless action is taken now to reduce the threats.
“Local pressures” on reefs, including overfishing, coastal development and pollution, pose the most immediate and direct threats to the world’s reefs, threatening more than 60 percent of the colorful sea ecosystems.
The impacts of climate change — a “global threat” to reefs — is compounding the local pressures.
“Warming seas have already caused widespread damage to reefs, with high temperatures driving a stress response called coral bleaching, where corals lose their colorful symbiotic algae, exposing their white skeletons,” the report says. (source)