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: Reef harm would put $38b hole in Austrailian tourism



From: Marian Wilkinson, The Sydney Morning Herald
Published August 10, 2009 09:45 AM

Reef harm would put $38b hole in Austrailian tourism


THE bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef caused by climate change would not only destroy one of the world's greatest natural wonders but would cost Australia $37.7 billion over the next century and devastate tourism in the north, a study has found.

Calling the study report ''a wake-up call'' to the serious threat from climate change, Dr John Schubert, the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, said the study found that half the tourists who visit the reef would stay away if it suffered permanent and total bleaching.

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Bleaching occurs when rising water temperature, salinity or acidity in seawater affects the corals. It can kill the corals if the conditions continue for a month or more. The threat to the reef from coral bleaching is one of the most popularly recognized effects of climate change.

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