“Fifty per cent of the Great Barrier Reef has died in the past two years alone, due to climate change,” says Dr Husain.

“It’s extraordinary to me that the Australian government is not jumping up and down on the world stage, calling for action on CO2, and is instead opening up the Galilee Basin - a coal reserve so large that it could blow the Earth’s entire carbon budgets in just 10 years. 

“With the fate of coral eco-systems around the world currently hanging in the balance, we felt this story needed to be told.

“Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea, the most biodiverse of all marine ecosystems. Their fisheries provide primary protein sources for 500 million people globally - often in poor and developing nations, and they are also a critical habitat for at least one life stage for a quarter of all marine species. We cannot afford to lose them.”

“With the UN predicting that coral reefs around the world will cease to exist as functioning ecosystems by the year 2050, business as usual is not an option.”

Costing the Earth: Defenders of the Reef can be heard at 3.30pm on 26 February (repeated 9pm) and Costing the Earth: Who Killed the Great Barrier Reef? at the same times on 6 March and, after transmission, on BBC iPlayer.

Ellen Husain reviews a freediving course in Cornwall in the March issue of DIVER, now on sale.

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