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.
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Photo credit: Sciencemag.org