>> Devastation sweeping the world's largest living ecosystem. Australia's great barrier reef under threat from warm waters fueled by climate change. Scientists on Monday releasing the latest report on how bad things are getting. From the middle of the reef north, they say 35% of coral has been destroyed by mass bleaching.
Research earlier this year said that only 7% of the entire reef is untouched. Bleaching is something that happens when the water temperature gets too high. Coral loses the algae it relies on for energy. That turns it white, as the coral essentially starves to death. Coral can recover if the water cools.
If not, it dies. One of the strongest El Nino systems in 20 years has made the bleaching worse across the globe this year, but scientists believe ongoing climate change is the underlying cause. The news comes just days after the Australian Environment Ministry sparked outrage when it admitted it had pulled data on the reef's damage from an United Nation's report without telling the scientists.
The ministry said it was afraid the information might cause confusion and impact tourism. The reef attracts around four billion dollars every year.