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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Reef approaching danger as climate crisis escalates

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Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching by Em VZ on Prezi.com

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) have urgently ‘sounded the warning bell’ for the Great Barrier Reef this summer. Authorities have warned that Queensland is facing one of the warmest years on record, projecting a great risk for the Reef.

AMCS spokesperson Shani Tager said: ‘This is a clear warning about the grave danger that our beautiful Reef is in because of climate change.

‘Australian emissions are climbing ever upwards. At the same time our Reef has never been more threatened from runaway climate change which is driving underwater heatwaves, extreme weather events and ocean acidification.’

This statement follows a concerning Outlook Report from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), which highlights the Reef’s environmental status has dropped from ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’, in regards to its future health.

The effect of the warming oceans is an issue witnessed daily by the Wavelength marine biologists. Wavelength is an eco-certified snorkelling company based in Port Douglas, Queensland. Mass coral bleaching, when unnaturally hot oceans destroy the colourful coral algae, subsequently starves the coral. This is resulting in the death of coral throughout the Reef – 30% perished in 2016, and a further 20% perished in 2017.

While the situation remains dire, it is not too late to act. ‘To give our Reef a fighting chance, and safeguard the 64,000 jobs that it supports, Queensland and the federal government need to take urgent action to slash emissions and rapidly transition from dirty coal,’ said Tager.

Wavelength is working on several conservation programs to protect and rehabilitate the reef, including research on the adaptability of corals and replanting the reef in coral nurseries. They advocate ‘eco-tourism’ by minimising their carbon footprint and donating the value of the remaining footprint to climate and reef advocacy groups.

In 2020, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will investigate Australia’s role in protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley and Queensland’s Environment Minister Leanne Enoch released a joint statement acknowledging climate change as the biggest threat to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Tager said both State and Federal governments needed to take urgent action and shift to renewable energy if our Reef is to have a fighting chance of survival. ‘Unless we start tackling this climate crisis, our Reef will remain in danger.’


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6 COMMENTS

  1. From Clive James essay ‘Mass Death Dies Hard ‘
    ‘Actually, a more illustrative starting point for the theme of the permanently imminent climatic apocalypse might be taken as 3 August 1971, when the Sydney Morning
    Herald announced that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in six months. After six
    months the reef had not died, but it has been going to die almost as soon as that ever
    since; making it a strangely durable emblem for all those who have wedded themselves to the notion of climate catastrophe.’

    • Wasn’t the threat back then the explosion of Crown of Thorns starfish? Like climate change, a slight fact you managed to ignore…. and which went on to destroy thousands of hectares of reef, and still does intermittently. Haven’t noticed the bleached reef news stories? or the aerial footage? Obviously you’ve not visited it nor read any scientific reports quantifying the damage, being too busy grasping unrelated straws and spewing sarcastic disdain for those who know, care and act more than you.

        • No. Your LNP mates gave all the money away already – $440mill to an organisation with 4 people that didn’t apply for anything, remember? Or is your sceptical memory only as short as the Murdoch Sky 2GB daily news cycle? There was no competitive tender. No plans. No capacity to implement any regime change. That was the totality of LNP actions to demonstrate they care & are willing to act.
          Now there’s no more $$ for university research grants, nor any increased funding for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Management Authority……but we can tell the World Heritage Authority that it’s no longer under threat because we spent $440 mill….wtf? I guess Foxtel is safe now too after Fifield gave it $30 mill.

  2. Dear, dear. The ‘notion’ of Climate Catastrophe. There’s
    always a number 13 in a dozen egg basket. Matthew is
    correct. Judith Wright [poet, historian, biographer etc]
    wrote The Choral Reef Battleground ie; the ‘crown of
    thorns’ destruction of thousands of hectares of reef. The
    bleaching is back. I remember A&R bookshop had
    Judith’s book hidden behind the counter because the
    Qld Premier J.B.P. didn’t want the public to read it. He
    had problems with the truth as well. Judith upset him
    again when she released ‘We Call For A Treaty’ …
    Judith was part of ‘the commission’ & with what was
    then know as The Conservation Society. My old friend
    would not be amused at today’s antics of ‘non belief’.

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