Experts say that the current global efforts to counter the impact of carbon emissions are not enough, a broader and radical approach is needed for marine management and mitigation options.
"It is unwise to assume we will be able to stabilise atmospheric CO2 at levels necessary to reduce or prevent ongoing damage to marine ecosystems," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, professor from the University of Queensland in Australia.
He co-authored the study with marine scientists Greg Rau from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Elizabeth McLeod from The Nature Conservancy, the journal Nature Climate Change reports.
Marine conservation options may include using shade to protect corals from the heat stress which leads to coral bleaching and death, albeit at small scales; maintaining or managing ocean chemistry by adding globally abundant base minerals such as carbonates and silicates to the ocean to neutralise acidity, and improve conditions for shell formation.
"Many of these ideas may only prove practical and effective at a local or regional scale," said Hoegh-Guldberg.
"However, they may still be important to businesses that may value patches of coral reefs," he said.
According to the study, if current trends continue, by 2050, atmospheric CO2 is expected to increase to more than 80 percent above pre-industrial (pre-1750) levels, with the corresponding devastation to marine environments putting trillions of dollars at risk globally.