Photo: Pedro Pereira/PCR
Celebrated on March 16, the National Climate Change Awareness Day triggers a red flag on the effects of human activities on the quick increase of the planet's temperature. In Brazil, the results of climate change have worsened in recent years, directly affecting activities such as energy generation and agriculture.
It is not difficult to see how much Summer has been hotter and rainfall has been more abundant. This is because climate change, a natural fluctuation of the Earth, has been accelerated at an unprecedented rate by activities such as fossil fuels burning, deforestation and agribusiness. The so-called global warming is a consequence of the emissions of an increasing volume of greenhouse gases (GHG), with a hihghlight on carbon dioxide, which greatest effects are increased average temperatures of the air surface and the sea surface.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, from 2011 to 2020, we had the hottest decade ever recorded, with an increase of 1.2°C in comparison to the levels prior to the Industrial Revolution. The acceleration intensified over the last three decades has generated a series of economic and social impacts, such as the greater incidence of events of extreme weather, such as droughts, desertification processes, tsunamis and major storms, alteration of flora cycles and the extinction of species.
Around the world, China, the United States and the European Union are primarily responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases. However, Brazil is right behind them, as a result of activities such as agribusiness and deforestation. In 2020, an area of 8,426 km² was deforested in the Amazon Forest biome, according to the Institute for Space Research (Inpe), with a 14% increase in deforestation alerts compared to the previous year. Due to its large dimensions, each region of the country has been impacted differently by global warming, whether due to changes in the rainfall, flood and extreme drought regimen.
Another consequence drawing attention is the melting of the polar ice that has been increasing the level of the oceans, which can cause migratory displacements of large populations. In a special report on the Ocean, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) observed that, in recent decades, global warming has led, for example, to the loss of mass of the ice caps and to reductions in the thickness of the ice on Arctic sea.
The concerning situation of the seas has led the United Nations to declare the period between 2021 and 2030 as the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, or Decade of the Ocean. Following the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the 2030 Agenda, called Life below Water, the Decase of the Ocean encourages the most diverse players to build and implement sustainable activities together in the oceans, seas and marine resources.
A particularly concerning case is the situation of the coral reefs. According to the IPCC, global warming and the absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans can cause the bleaching of up to 70-90% of coral reefs worldwide, leading to their extinction.
Partnership between WWF-Brazil and Neoenergy Institute, the objective of the Coralize Project is to make the restoration, maintenance and adaptation of coral reefs a priority agenda in Brazil, in addition to engaging various social players on the importance of preserving the oceans, through the dissemination of information and the empowerment of local communities.
Particularly active in the Northeastern region, in places like Porto de Galinhas, the project is divided into two main strategic axes: the development of a coral reef restoration methodology and the encouragement of research in mesophotic reefs (deep waters, up to 150m deep), beside the dissemination of knowledge to the scientific and civil society and the promotion of new business models guided by sustainability.
In a recent edition of CESAR Summer Job, students from different universities went through a six-week immersion, in which they had the opportunity to acquire practical knowledge related to coral reefs and the performance of the Coralize project. At the Coralize Challenge , having the Decade of the Ocean as inspiration, they were urged to find solutions to the following question: How to create a coral reef restoration protocol that is financially sustainable in long term?
We talked to a few of those participants, who spoke about the experience at CESAR Summer Job and about the future of coral reefs, bringing reports of lessons learned and hope. Learn more about this story!