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Posted: 2017-04-15 12:00:00

By Ben Doherty and Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

The loss of coral reefs caused by rising sea temperatures could cost $1 trillion globally, a report from Australia’s Climate Council has projected, with the loss of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef alone costing that region 1 million visitors a year, imperilling 10,000 jobs and draining $1 billion from the economy.

The longest global coral bleaching event on record, which began in 2014 and has affected some reefs in consecutive years, has given reefs little chance to recover, and should be a “wake-up call” to act to save the natural and economic assets, the Climate Council’s Lesley Hughes said.

Bleached section of reef near Cairns.
Credit: Ed Roberts

“The extraordinary devastation being experienced on the Great Barrier Reef is due to the warming of our oceans, driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas,” Hughes said. “It would have been virtually impossible for this to have occurred without climate change.”

Hughes argued it was a false dichotomy in public debate “to pit the environment against the economy”.


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