Turning Over an Old Reef
Great Barrier Reef Is Doomed, Says Report
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — the world’s largest chain of living coral and one of the seven wonders of the natural world — will be almost completely destroyed by rising sea temperatures by 2050, predicts a new report released by Queensland University’s Center for Marine Studies. “Coral cover will decrease to less than 5 percent on most reefs by the middle of the century, under even the most favorable assumptions,” says the report, which goes on to forecast that damage to the reef — one of the world’s top tourist attractions — will cost Australia $6.3 billion and more than 12,000 jobs by 2020. Prime Minister John Howard’s conservative government has made some attempts to mitigate the damage, but Australia has not signed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and has no plans to do so.