With the prospect of saving the world’s coral reef now looking so forlorn, scientists have proposed turning to industrial gas to provide a solution – by freezing samples of coral species in liquid nitrogen.

In an ironic collision of nature and industry, it appears that the industrial gas may now be the only short-term answer to a problem seemingly brought on in the first place by the output of harmful gases.

A recent meeting of minds in Denmark saw scientists and politicians alike acknowledge that global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are rising so fast that we are losing the fight to save the coral reef.

The prospects of saving the world's coral reefs are apparently so bleak that plans are afoot to freeze samples and preserve them for the future. The meeting in the Danish capital of Copenhagen assessed evidence from researchers, which suggested most reefs will not survive even if tough greenhouse gas regulations are implemented.

Enter the proposition of using liquid nitrogen. Preserving samples of coral species in such a manner would enable scientists to reintroduce them to the seas in the future – if global temperatures can be stabilised by then.

Legislators from 16 major economies attended the meeting in Copenhagen, organised by the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe).

Although the coral reefs make up less than a quarter of 1% of the ocean's floor, they are a key source of food, income and coastal protection for around 500 million people worldwide.

Freezing samples for the future may be a necessary option, allowing for the reintroduction to the seas and reconstruction of the reef at a later date in the future.