Another stark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows solutions for our blue planet are still within reach but only if we act now.
The assessment, released early on Tuesday, shows we need transformational change across every sector in every country in order to keep global heating within 1.5C – a crucial threshold for coral reefs – but it can only be achieved if we rapidly transition away from the burning of fossil fuels.
Tooni Mahto, campaigns director at the Australian Marine Conservation Society said: “As we see the stark reality of global heating bleach our reefs coast to coast, the IPCC’s call to stop burning coal and transition rapidly to renewables should be yet another wake-up call for Australia. We must seize the opportunities to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and power the shift to renewable energy.
“This is what will be best for our oceans in Australia and the tens of thousands of people here who rely on healthy oceans for their livelihoods.
“The science is clear – the best way to deal with the issue of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere is not to put them there in the first place.
“With the right approach and political leadership, renewable energy could be an economic boon for regional areas of Australia, and will help protect Australian jobs that rely on our oceans.
“We need to see the next Australian government become a leader on the transition to renewables. We have so much to protect and cherish in our environment here, our political leaders should be stepping up to show the world how it should be done.
“Unfortunately, we have yet to see evidence of this in the climate pledges of either of the major parties in Australia. They are lagging behind where they need to be, especially when you consider that Australia is one of the largest exporters of fossil fuels as well as continuing to support and approve new coal mines and gas developments.
“But by strengthening our climate commitments in this crucial decade for our planet, we can have a huge impact on its future.”
Ms Mahto said the disastrous impacts of global heating were currently playing out in Australia’s oceans.
“Our Great Barrier Reef is enduring its fourth mass bleaching event since 2016, and its first in a La Nina year. Meanwhile, on the west coast of Australia, bleaching has been reported in the Dampier Archipelago off the Pilbara and in the world famous Ningaloo Marine Park. The next few weeks will be nail biting as we wait to see whether the marine heatwave sweeping down the west coast inflicts more damage,” she said.
“The horrifying starkness of bleached corals are a direct result of years of climate inaction. It’s long past time that we turn things around.”