The Great Barrier Reef is literally a treasure. It’s worth $42 billion.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017, 02:01:03 AM. But experts ask what that number really means.
A tourist snorkels above coral in the lagoon located on Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef, northeast of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia. (David Gray/Reuters) Some might argue that Australia’s beloved Great Barrier Reef is a priceless natural wonder, but economists have just placed a number on its monetary value. Accounting for factors like the reef’s contribution to tourism and fishing and even the amount that people value it simply for existing, they’ve estimated that its worth is a total of $42.4 billion in a new report, commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and prepared by Deloitte Access Economics. But other experts suggest that calculating a total value for a natural resource like the Great Barrier Reef may not provide the most useful information about its condition or what kinds of measures we should be taking to protect it. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the world who’d say the world would be better off without the Great Barrier Reef,” said Eli Fenichel, an expert in the valuation of natural resources at Yale University, who was not involved with the report. “The important policy question is how much do we invest in it, and the answer to that is, well, how much do we improve the Great Barrier Reef with those investments, or what is the trajectory for value with the Great Barrier Reef and do we do something to change that?” The report released Sunday aims to calculate the reef’s value as an asset to the nation of Australia, a...Read more
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