In December 2022, the U.S. Congress passed an incredibly important piece of legislation. As part of the yearly National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers from all political parties agreed to protect coral reefs, marine ecosystems, and marine wildlife from the effects of climate change!
The provisions, which President Joe Biden signed into law
, provide significant funding for research into the causes of ocean degradation as well as conservation of current marine life.
This is incredible news! However, we can't make progress with defending marine ecosystems if we allow climate change to continue unchecked. Congress must commit to lowering the U.S.'s greenhouse gas emissions now!
Right now, coral reefs off the coasts of the U.S. and around the globe are speeding towards extinction. Within the next 12 years, scientists predict that more than half of the world's coral reefs will be threatened. The biggest contributor to this crisis? Climate change.
Pollution, toxic sunscreen usage, overfishing, and human construction are also killing off these important, biodiverse ecosystems.
Coral reefs provide food and habitat for one quarter of all marine life in the whole world! According to
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): "Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species."
They also protect our coastlines from storms, floods, and waves. That safeguards us humans from erosion and major damage to homes and lives.
With storms increasing in size, intensity, and frequency, we need coral reefs now more than ever!Congress must continue with its excellent work to protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems, and go even further. The oceans cannot survive if our planet's climate continues hurtling out of control. The U.S. Congress must implement limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the country, now!