I think the article is pessimistic and has a very narrow view. Sure, Coral Reefs are the rainforest of the ocean and we arn't even doing a fantastic job saving the rainforests on land! But this guy makes it seem like we've already lost the battle and he clearly doesnt keep up with current research.
"Money isn’t spent to study what to do after the reefs are gone" Oh yeah, there's absolutely no research on creating artificial reefs.
"on what sort of ecosystems will replace coral reefs" Yeah, it's not been shown that when reefs collapse, seagrass communities take over in shallow sandy environments and kelp forests develop in rocky areas.
"and what opportunities there will be to nudge these into providing people with food and other useful ecosystem products and services." Because only reef ecosystems provide those things. Seagrass communities, oyster beds and the like have no useful purposes whatsoever.
"Nor is money spent to preserve some of the genetic resources of coral reefs by transferring them into systems that are not coral reefs." I honestly dont understand this sentence.
How can you preserve genetics without preserving corals. And why would you put corals into non-reef systems?
"Research led by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland shows that corals will be pushed outside their temperature-acidity envelope in the next 20 to 30 years, absent effective international action on emissions." Like Dan said, reefs are continually surprising us. Not only can they adapt to changing acidity more than we thought (though Im sure there is an endpoint) there are a lot of reefs that currently exist that we would have never imagined. Cold water reefs where temperatures are stupid-cold, deep water reefs where they dont use sunlight, it's amazing what they can do!