Coral bleaching may cause Australia $750 million loss

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Canberra, April 12 (IANS) Severe coral bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef may result in a loss of some $750 million for the economy and tourism industry in the state of Queensland, a media report said on Wednesday.

A report released by Australian Climate Council, ‘Climate Change: A Deadly Threat to Coral Reefs’, looks at the economic impact of massive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017, the Efe news agency reported.

About 1,500 km, or two-thirds, of this coral system in northeastern Australia has already been extremely damaged.

The bleaching was caused by a rise in water temperatures due to climate change and was exacerbated by the effects of El Nino cycle in 2016.

The data in the report indicates that if severe bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef continues, this could result in the loss of more than one million visitors to the region annually, as well as 10,000 jobs.

The report notes that the worsening coral bleaching and the death of these organisms “potentially puts $1 trillion (about $750 billion) at risk globally”.

It also highlights that the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, contributes about $5.24 billion annually to the Australian economy and supports the livelihoods of around 70,000 people.

“This isn’t just an environmental issue. The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s greatest economic assets,” Climate Council’s ecologist Lesley Hughes said in a statement.

The council urged the government to reconsider its energy and climate policies to mitigate the effects of climate change.

–IANS

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