Several conservation organisations are reporting that the Great Barrier Reef may have suffered yet another coral bleaching event, as climate change pushes water temperatures to dangerous levels.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), which recently revealed the Reef’s long-term outlook had deteriorated to ‘very poor’ for the first time ever, is expected to investigate possible bleaching in the north.
Climate Councillor Professor Lesley Hughes asks how much more can the reef take? ‘The repeated insults to the reefs’ integrity are tragic.
‘Everybody has been predicting there would be more bleaching,’ said Professor Hughes. ‘This news is not a surprise, but it is tragic nonetheless.’
Iconic Reef may have taken another hit
Professor Hughes said that just when we thought Australia could not possibly be hit with any more climate-driven crises, our iconic Reef may have taken another hit. ‘Climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, is the number one threat to our Reef, and I have seen it first-hand.’
The Great Barrier Reef suffered back-to-back bleaching in 2016 and 2017. The 2016 bleaching event was made 175 times more likely due to intensifying climate change.
‘Climate change is not only threatening our Reef, but also the more than 60,000 workers and communities which depend on it and the $6 billion it contributes to the Australian economy. We must work to protect the tourism industry, which is already suffering at the hands of climate change,’ said Professor Hughes.
‘We must urgently phase out coal, oil and gas to give the Reef a fighting chance of survival. It’s not too late but we must act now.
‘Australia has already lost so much this summer: people, places and wildlife. We can’t afford to lose a national icon,’ she said.