Daily Management Review

'Earth Index' Finds Coral Reefs are Worth Four Times as Much as UK Economy


'Earth Index' Finds Coral Reefs are Worth Four Times as Much as UK Economy
An assessment of the value of natural assets has found that the world c oral reefs are worth £6 trillion a year in services they provide for people - almost four times as much as the UK economy.
Bees contributed £106 billion to the world economy in pollinating crops, and that vultures were worth £1.6 billion for clearing up animal carcasses and preventing human health hazards, the 'Earth Index' drawn up for BBC Earth also found.
The report found out that vultures have suffered severe declines across the Indian subcontinent due to a veterinary drug which is lethal to them and this has resulted in the increase in feral dogs which spread rabies, causing an estimated 50,000 more deaths and significant clean-up costs.
The study attached a price to the freshwater that is available on the earth at almost £46 trillion a year, the equivalent of the entire world economy as without freshwater the economy would not exist.
Protection from storms, providing fish, tourism and storing carbon emissions are the value of the coral reefs provide which amounts to £6.2 trillion. Compared to this the value of the UK economy is £1.7 trillion in value and the annual price-tag of oil at just under £2.2 trillion.
In order to put nature on the stock exchange, the Earth Index is being published in the financial sections of newspapers around the world.
“When you see the figures in black and white it’s illuminating to see that the annual revenues of the world’s most successful companies - Apple, General Motors, Nestle, Bank of China - all pale in comparison to the financial return to our economy from natural assets,” Neil Nightingale, creative director of BBC Earth said.
Fish are worth £171 billion and tiny plankton, which form the basis of food webs in the world’s oceans, have a value of £139 billion a year for their role in storing carbon alone.
The index is intended to pilot a model for reporting the financial contribution nature makes to the global economy and is based on a study of existing data.
Canada’s polar bears are worth £6.3 billion, while in the UK, the value of nature has been estimated at 1.5 trillion, with soils generating £5.3 billion a year and bees generating £651 million. 
While the value of the corals is being propagated worldwide, scientists have confirmed the third-ever global bleaching of coral reefs is under way and warned it could see the biggest coral die-off in history.
Coral reefs have lost their brilliance and are dying in the ocean since 2014 due to a massive underwater heat wave that is driven by climate change. Scientists say that by the end of this year 38% of the world’s reefs will have been affected and about 5% will have died forever.

“The fact that 2016’s bleaching will be added on top of the bleaching that has occurred since June 2014 makes me really worried about what the cumulative impact may be. It very well may be the worst period of coral bleaching we’ve seen,” says coral scientists Dr Mark Eakin, the coordinator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Watch programme,.

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