The Great Barrier Reef will lose most of its coral cover by 2050, inflicting billions of dollars in damage on Australia's tourism and fishing industries, a study on coral bleaching has warned.
The authors, the head of Queensland University's Centre for Marine Studies, and his father, an economist, predict, at best, reefs will have about 5 per cent living coral cover by the middle of the century, a predicament that would take the reef 50-100 years to recover from.
They blame rising water temperatures for the problem and warn it could end up costing the economy $8 billion and more than 12,000 jobs by 2020. Even under favourable conditions, they said, tourists would only be able to experience real corals in reef 'theme parks' in places as far off as the Whitsunday Shire.
The study, which was commissioned by the Worldwide Fund for Nature and Queensland's peak tourism body and partly funded by the Queensland and federal governments, has already been shown to federal ministers.
Gosh, just imagine how bad it would be if the earth really was warming.