The death of coral reefs signals massive economic losses

Worldwide, reefs support around 500 million people in 50 countries.

A 2015 WWF report, “Reviving the Ocean Economy,” suggests the value of global coral reefs is more than $1 trillion, and it’s all at risk as coral reefs degenerate at an alarming pace.

Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, rising sea temperatures have caused massive bleaching to two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef, leaving it in a “terminal state,” according to scientists.

Queensland alone could lose a million visitors a year, 10,000 jobs and $1 billion from the economy.

Such risks create investment opportunities as well. In Australia, the government plans to invest $200 million annually to protect the reef and attract private capital.

One small example: $4.5 million in support of a $12.8 million investment by sugarcane growers to reduce the flow of harmful nutrients.

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s greatest economic assets,” says the Climate Council’s Lesley Hughes.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha's daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: Sciencemag.org

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