A new report finds the Great Barrier Reef is too "critical" to fail—which is a problem since it's already failing. The report from Deloitte Access Economics notes the reef—with a "total asset value" of $42 billion, almost half of which comes from tourism—is the biggest contributor to Australia's economy, adding $4.85 billion per year while supporting 64,000 jobs, including 39,000 direct jobs, reports the Guardian. "The livelihoods and businesses it supports across Australia far exceeds the numbers supported by many industries we would consider too big to fail," the report states. In comparison, a new $16.5 billion coal mine in Queensland—which critics say is a threat to the reef—will contribute $154 million to the economy per year and will add 10,000 jobs.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation commissioned the report "to understand precisely what the reef contributes and, therefore, what we stand to lose without it," the chairman says, calling it "a call to action." The report notes half of all coral in the Great Barrier Reef has been lost in the last 30 years as a result of coral bleaching, extreme weather, and changes in water quality with "continued decline" expected, per ABC Australia. More than 60% of 1,500 people from 11 countries surveyed for the report said they would pay to protect the reef, per the Sydney Morning Herald and the BBC. It's understandable why, says Al Gore: "Any failure to protect this indispensable natural resource would have profound impacts not only to Australia but around the world." (This could help save the reef.)