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Baby Coral Deaths Threaten the Great Barrier Reef’s Recovery

(Bloomberg) — The mass death of young and old corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is threatening the recovery of the largest living structure on Earth. 



underwater view of a coral: An undated handout photo received from the ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies on October 14, 2020 shows a damaged part of the Great Barrier Reef - the vast World Heritage-listed reef off Australia's northeastern coast.


© Bloomberg
An undated handout photo received from the ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies on October 14, 2020 shows a damaged part of the Great Barrier Reef – the vast World Heritage-listed reef off Australia’s northeastern coast.

The bleaching of corals off Australia’s northeastern coast due to ocean warming and acidification is happening across all species and to specimens of all ages, according to a new study that analyzed coral demographics. The study, led by Andy Dietzel at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia, confirmed the Great Barrier Reef lost half its corals between 1995 and 2017.

“We measured changes in colony sizes because population studies are important for understanding demography and the corals’ capacity to breed,” Dietzel said in a statement. “The ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover—its resilience—is compromised compared to the past because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults.”

Coral reefs are so sensitive to changes in ocean conditions that they have become a leading indicator for the collapse of the ocean ecosystem as climate change advances. Even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C from pre-industrial times —considered a best-case scenario— almost all warm-water coral reefs are forecast to suffer significant losses. 

Oceans have absorbed 93% of heat captured by greenhouse gases since the 1970s. Their ability to capture and store carbon dioxide stopped keeping pace with emissions in the 1990s and their sponge-like capacity will keep diminishing even if humans manage to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Reefs are following a similar trend, Dietzel’s research found. Record temperatures that triggered three mass bleachings in the past five years, especially including the record event of 2016 and 2017, have led to the loss of all sorts of coral structures. 

Together, the deaths of baby corals and of the large corals that produce most coral larvae are leading to smaller coral colonies. That deterioration is steeper in the northern and central areas of the Great Barrier Reef, but the report notes that the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020. 

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Compass Offices Expands its Footprint Anticipating Market Recovery

Compass Offices, a leading flexible office space provider in Asia Pacific, increases its footprint in Hong Kong with an additional 22,500 square foot of flexible office space at Infinitus Plaza in Sheung Wan.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201012005004/en/

Compass Offices, a leading flexible office space provider in Asia Pacific, increases its footprint in Hong Kong with an additional 22,500 square foot of flexible office space at Infinitus Plaza in Sheung Wan. (Photo: Business Wire)

Infinitus Plaza is the prime office location in the Sheung Wan district, with direct access to the MTR, the Macao ferry terminal and a 2 minutes’ walk via the footbridge to the IFC mall.

Compass is expanding its operation in the building from 2 to 4 floors, bringing its corporate and professional clientele private and secure flexible office space, meeting rooms, and a modern and fully fitted business lounge and breakout area.

The expansion is located in the high zone of the building, adding bright and spacious offices with full seaview overlooking the Victoria Harbour and includes the top floor at level 38.

According to Chief Executive Officer Hans Leijten, the decision to expand is motivated by the growing demand among established businesses planning ahead of 2021.

“Companies are rethinking their business strategy and space requirements for the coming year. More decision makers are choosing flexible office space for its adaptability to their business development and the support of a more flexible working model for their employees,” he said.

The office space is developing from a long-term “fixed obligation” to a flexible amenity with a hybrid working environment, facilitating productivity and collaboration. In the office space, hybrid working effectively reduces density and promotes safe distancing.

“The pandemic is accelerating the shift from traditional offices to flexible workspace for safety, mobility and business continuity reasons. To answer this demand, we are accelerating our growth throughout our Asia Pacific network.” said Leijten.

In support of the business planning of new clients, Compass Offices offers free office space, while stock lasts, in all its locations for the remainder of 2020 to clients signing up for a minimum of 6 months from January 2021.

The 2 new floors at Compass Offices Infinitus Plaza are set to open early December 2020. Enquiries are welcome.

About Compass Offices

Compass Offices is a leading flexible office space provider in Asia Pacific. Founded in 2009, Compass Offices has grown to 9 cities, serving over 20,000 satisfied clients. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, growing start-ups, entrepreneurs, independent professionals and enterprise teams.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201012005004/en/

Contacts

Press:
Kelly Tey
+852 3978 5392
kelly.tey@compassoffices.com

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Most nations failing to protect nature in COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans

Most nations failing to protect nature in COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans
The financial district of New York City as seen from Liberty State Park in New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Pamela McElwee

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to reset the global economy and reverse decades of ecosystem and species losses, but most countries are failing to invest in nature-related economic reforms or investments, according to a Rutgers-led paper.


Indeed, some countries, including the United States, Brazil and Australia, are back-tracking on existing laws and relaxing regulations and enforcement actions aimed at protecting nature, according to lead author Pamela McElwee, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“Just last week at the United Nations, more than 60 heads of state spoke at a virtual summit and pledged their support to tackle the biodiversity crisis. But when we look at what countries are doing, either in their prior budget and policies or especially in their post-COVID planning and recovery packages, very few governments are putting their money where their mouths are,” McElwee said. “We still see huge amounts of financial support for harmful practices, such as subsidizing overfishing or fossil fuel production or building infrastructure that will harm ecological integrity. Only a small number of countries are addressing the biodiversity crisis in the serious manner it deserves.”

The paper, by economists, anthropologists and environmental scientists at many institutions on three continents, is published in the journal One Earth. It explores the changes in global economic systems—including incentives, regulations, fiscal policy and employment programs—that are necessary to shift away from activities that damage biodiversity and move toward those supporting ecosystem resilience.

Unless action is taken, around 1 million species face extinction, many within decades, and the global rate of species extinction will accelerate, according to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). That report noted the extinction rate is “already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.” The authors of this new paper were all contributors to the 2019 IPBES report.

The new paper spells out the actions governments should be taking in their stimulus and recovery plans that would prioritize nature, provide immediate employment benefits and lead to longer-term transformations in the global economy. Examples include shifting from harmful fossil fuel subsidies to beneficial ones, including those that encourage environmentally friendly farming; carbon taxes that could support forest protection programs; and work programs that focus on ecological restoration and green infrastructure.

While many scientists and politicians have promoted a COVID-19 recovery that is low carbon, how to include biodiversity and ecosystems in economic plans has received much less attention. Discussions of nature-related actions have largely focused on closing wildlife markets as a potential source of novel viruses, expanding protected natural areas or reducing tropical deforestation. While these can be important, they do not necessarily address the root causes of ecological