Scientists have estimated that damage to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef would cost the country loss of over 1 million visitors a month on annual basis and a whopping USD 1 trillion to the global economy.
The Great Barrier Reef is currently suffering massive bleaching with latest estimates indicating that as much as two thirds of the coral reefs have been damaged because of back-to-back severe bleaching events caused by record-breaking temperatures.
Scientists say that with climate change is adding fuel to the fire and is making things worse because temperature increases because of climate change has pushed the Great Barrier Reef to the point from where there is zero prospect of recovery.
Australia’s Climate Council has noted in its latest report on the health of Great Barrier Reef that worsening bleaching events are also placing tourism and global economies at risk, with the loss of coral reefs potentially costing an astounding USD 1 trillion.
Extensive and ongoing mass coral bleaching and mortality on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and now in 2017 should be a wake up call, said Climate Councillor Professor Lesley Hughes.
There is a possibility that the decline in temperature because of Cyclone Debbie may offer some relief to Queensland reefs and offer some chance to recuperate from the bleaching events of 2016 and 2017; however, this relief won’t last long and could be offset by the physical damage caused by the Category 4 tropical cyclone.
Scientists have time and again said that the bleaching events will likely be more frequent and more severe in Australia over the course of next twenty to 30 years, which could devastate the long-term health of the reef and its ability to regenerate.
Putting an end to greenhouse gas emissions is the only way to protect coral reefs in Australia and around the world, scientists have urged.