Plea to protect world's coral reefs

Scientists are calling for drastic cuts in carbon emissions in order to help protect the world's coral reefs. A team of experts - led by Sir David Attenborough - has warned that coral reefs are slowly becoming extinct and could disappear entirely in the next 20 years if CO2 emissions are not reduced. They said the delicate ecosystems - known as the "rainforests of the sea'' - are vital to the existence of marine life. But CO2 absorbed by oceans is posing a threat to the survival of structures such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Coral reefs are also being affected by bleaching events, which are often due to long periods of warm sea surface temperatures. During a meeting at the Royal Society in London, Sir David said: "We must do all that is necessary to protect the key components of the life of our planet as the consequences of decisions made now will likely be forever as far as humanity is concerned." Curently, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 387 parts per million (ppm). However, it could rise to 450ppm over the next 20 years, the scientists warned. They said it could make the oceans more acidic, leading to the extinction of coral reefs.

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