Media Release Climate Change

Coral bleaching warning prompts climate action call

January 8, 2020

News that a coral bleaching warning has been issued for our northern Great Barrier Reef is proof that the Morrison and Palaszczuk governments need to act urgently and decisively on Australia’s climate emergency, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has said.

As out of control bushfires rage across the country following a summer of deadly heatwaves and broken temperature records, the notice from NOAA Coral Reef Watch is concerning, said Great Barrier Reef campaign manager Shani Tager.

“Our leading scientists and Reef managers warned in November that our Reef was facing a period of danger this summer because of record breaking temperatures driven by climate change predicted for Queensland,” Ms Tager said.

“Now a warning on bleaching has been issued for this vulnerable part of our reef, which is still recovering from serious bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.

“The best action to protect our Reef and the 64,000 jobs it supports is for the Queensland and federal governments to cut the fossil fuel emissions which drive climate change.

“We can show the world the benefits of transitioning to renewable energy if we place trust in our country’s innovators. We must show global leadership on climate change and take action, to give our precious Reef a fighting chance.”

Coral bleaching is caused by high water temperatures which result in corals expelling the algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white.

NOAA’s coral bleaching warning was issued for the area between north of Cooktown and Cape York, which is recording sea surface temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. The tool is also projecting even warmer marine temperatures for this region for the weeks ahead.


Contact: AMCS Media Advisor Jo Manning  0405 567228 / [email protected]