A study in the journal Nature said some 30 percent of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral had perished. REUTERS/David Gray/File photo
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Australia pledged half a billion dollars to restore and protect the Great Barrier Reef Sunday in what it claimed would be a game changer for the embattled natural wonder, but conservationists were not convinced. The World Heritage-listed site, which attracts millions of tourists, is reeling from significant bouts of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change.The reef is a critical national asset, contributing AU$6.4 billion a year to the Australian economy.Conservationists said while the funding was "an important step," the biggest threat to the reef was global warming and not enough was being done to combat it by embracing clean energy.A study in the journal Nature claimed some 30 percent of the reef's coral had perished, the first of an unprecedented two successive years of coral bleaching along the 2,300-kilometer reef.
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