The state of the Great Barrier Reef off Australia is so dire that it should be insured for its economic value, global law firm Clyde & Co says.
The reef - which has been valued at A$56 billion - is at risk of destruction from pollution, coral bleaching, sea level rises, ocean acidification, and pollution.
Clyde & Co says stewardship over the reef is key to ensuring long term, sustainable opportunities to provide food security, employment, carbon sequestration, and coastal resilience.
Options for managing risk of physical harm to the reef, and consequential economic and other losses, could include establishing a dedicated fund or parametric insurance cover.
"There is precedent in Australia and a number of other jurisdictions for using dedicated funds to manage risk, particularly in the context of terrorism risks," a corporate regulatory partner at the firm, Avryl Lattin, says.
"As climate-related weather risks become more prevalent, we are seeing innovations in the insurance market to cover specific weather or environmental events," she says.