Predictions that the Great Barrier Reef could suffer severe coral bleaching by the end of summer is an urgent warning for the Federal Government to take immediate climate action, says the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) tentative forecast, out today, predicts the entire reef has a 60 percent chance of being subject to “bleaching alert level one”—meaning bleaching is likely— by March 2019, with possible coral mortality in some areas.
“How much more of the Great Barrier Reef has to die before the Federal Government acts on climate change?,” said AMCS spokesperson Imogen Zethoven.
“While our Reef is in danger, our politicians continue to ignore the issue of climate change with no credible plan to reduce pollution.
Parts of the southern half of the Reef are on higher alert with coral mortality likely in some areas, according to NOAA. An El Niño event could increase the odds of a severe bleaching event.
“The Reef is already suffering heat impacts. Add drought, bushfires and heatwaves into the mix and all Queenslanders, including our marine life, are in for a tough summer,” said Zethoven.
“The government’s claims that it is looking after the Reef—and the millions of taxpayer dollar spent on this—ultimately count for very little if it continues to ignore the greatest threat to the reef.
“By failing to protect the Reef, the Federal Government is also gambling with the 64,000 jobs that are dependent on the Reef, and the $6 billion that it generates every year for the Queensland economy.”
“The Government knows what the solutions to this are all too well: no new coal mines, including Adani’s monstrous Carmichael mine, a rapid transition to renewable energy, a phase out of all coal-fired power stations by 2030 and an immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies.”
“But instead of acting on these recommendations, the government continues to pander to the demands of the fossil fuel industry instead of delivering a cleaner, safer future for Australia.
“The Government is on notice ahead of the next election. Australians want the Government to protect the Reef and its amazing wildlife. The time to act is now.”
Interviews available – contact Imogen Zethoven 0431 565 495