The health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in a critical state and deteriorating as climate change warms up the waters in which it lies.
The World Heritage-listed site off Australia’s northeastern coast is all but doomed, with between 70 and 99 per cent of corals set for destruction unless immediate “transformative action” is taken to reverse global warming, according to a new report.
The Australian Academy of Science says the more ambitious target of the Paris Climate Agreement of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees has now slipped out of reach and is “virtually impossible”.
If 1.5 degrees of warming was sustained, the Great Barrier Reef would cease to exist as we know it, says one of the authors, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a biologist and climate scientist specialising in coral reefs.
Great Barrier Reef is made up of corals that support rich and bio-diverse marine life. The reef is 2300 km long.
Great Barrier Reef was an estimated USD 4 billion in revenue from tourism before the coronavirus pandemic.
The reef is at risk of losing its coveted world heritage status because of ocean warming — fuelled by climate change — damaging its health.
Changes in ocean temperatures stress healthy corals, causing them to expel algae living in their tissues — draining them of their vibrant colours in a process known as bleaching.
(With inputs from agencies)
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