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Coral Reefs and Climate Change: A Legal Solution to Preserving Global Ecosystems

ABA: “Coral reefs are dying at a rapid pace. In fact, half of the world’s corals are gone.  The death of these biologically diverse underwater structures will result in job loss, the destruction of crucial ecosystems, and limited food supply to over half a billion people worldwide.  Despite the essential benefits coral reefs bring, reefs are largely unprotected and unregulated at both the international and domestic levels.  The United States has established programs and task forces to study the decline of coral reefs (i.e., the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force), but rarely has Congress passed legislation to address the protection of coral reefs. Tackling the issue of coral reef mortality requires multiple routes. First, climate change must be mitigated to prevent the Earth’s temperature rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; warmer waters lead to ocean acidification and coral bleaching. Second, laws and policies must be enacted at both the international and country level to protect coral reefs…”

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