Based on previous estimates, coral reefs are said to earn nearly $30 billion a year ‘by attracting tourists, protecting commercial fish species and protecting coasts from storm surges.’ A new study that further investigated the economic value of coral reefs suggests that ‘a single hectare of coral reef can be worth from $130,000 to $1.2 million a year.’ The research is the result of a review of 80 studies carried out between 1995 and 2009. The report also claims that ‘the world’s coral reefs save us $172 billion every year, but they’re on the brink of collapse because of political inertia.’
Coral reef death is linked to climate change. So are the forests. There are two most cost-effective and easiest ways to save coral reefs: reduce deforestation and boost reforestation. Scientists hope that reforestation be an important discussion point in the upcoming climate deal that will be forged in the December climate summit in Copenhagen.
Scientists also believe that climate change will be greatly mitigated through official policies. And that ‘it is crucial for science to link directly into policy, and the provision of monetary values is one way to achieve this.’ It is deemed ‘crucial that researchers start placing economic values on the ecosystem services they study’ since money is universally understood by climate stakeholders. Coral reefs serve the ecosystem free of charge. On the other hand, their loss amounts to billions of dollars. Copenhagen negotiators should see the economic scenario of coral reefs.