Scientists say most of the world's coral reefs could die if countries do not honour their commitments to the Paris climate agreement.
The most significant global coral bleaching event on record has just ended leaving a trail of dead coral in its wake with some reefs in the Pacific losing more than 90 percent of their living coral.
A US coral reef expert Mark Eakin said if countries failed to reduce global warming such rare events would become the norm which would be disastrous for coral reefs and the billions of people whose livelihoods depend on the marine ecosystems that corals support.
"The first is for countries to be doing everything they can to live up to the Paris Agreement keeping climate change well under two degrees of warming and in the long term try to keep within 1.5 degrees but at the same time because that is going to take a while we need to be doing everything we can to reduce local stresses," Mr Eakin said.
He said local stresses include the over-harvesting of marine resources, pollution and the destruction of marine habitats.