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Key coral reefs 'could disappear'

The world's most important coral region is in danger of being wiped out by the end of this century unless fast action is taken, says a new report. The Coral Triangle covers 1% of the earth's surface but contains a third of all the world's coral, and three-quarters of its coral reef species. 40% of reefs in the Coral Triangle have already been lost. The area is shared between Indonesia and five other south-east Asian nations and is thought to contain 75% of the world's coral species. It is likened to the Amazon rainforest in terms of its biodiversity.

What we can expect if the world's richest coral reef is destroyed:
It's 2099, and across south-east Asia, a hundred million people are on the march, looking for food. The fish they once relied on is gone. Communities are breaking down; economies destroyed. And that could happen this century.
"Up until now we haven't realized how quickly this system is changing. In the last 40 years in the Coral Triangle, we've lost 40% of coral reefs and mangroves - and that's probably an underestimate. We've fundamentally changed the way the planet works in terms of currents and this is only with a 0.7 degree change in terms of temperature. What's going to happen when we exceed two or four or six?" "Pollution, the inappropriate use of coastal areas, these are destroying the productivity of ocean which is plummeting right now. That is the system that traps CO2 - 40% of CO2 goes into the ocean. Now if we interrupt that, the problems on planet earth become even greater."

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