Media Release Climate Change

Leading Reef Scientist Meets with Local Tourism Operators

November 29, 2018

Cairns. A leading coral reef scientist has met with Far North Queensland tourism operators today, prompting calls from science and industry for the federal government to take urgent action on climate change to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The Reef Tourism Climate Briefing was organised by the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, bringing together concerned operators to hear the latest climate science from Professor Morgan Pratchett.

Professor Morgan Pratchett is a reef ecologist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, based at James Cook University in Townsville. He said, “There can be no doubt that the Great Barrier Reef is facing incredible challenges in a warming world.

“91 of the world’s top climate scientists predict that we could lose 70-90% of the world’s coral reefs at 1.5°C of global warming. We’re already at 1°C of global warming.

“It’s not too late to save the Great Barrier Reef, but the time for serious action on climate change is now,” he said.

Alan Wallish, c-owner and operator of Passions of Paradise, said, “As a leader in sustainable ecotourism we’re doing everything we can to protect the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

“Every day we reveal the beauty of this natural icon to visitors from all across the world, spreading a message of conservation and appreciation. We offset our carbon emissions, helping to plant 1200 trees in the Daintree Rainforest last year. We invest in scientific research.

“But on our own, tourism operators cannot safeguard the future of the Great Barrier Reef. Together with over 150 local businesses we’ve signed a declaration calling for the federal government to stand up for the future of the Reef and the 64,000 jobs it sustains by taking strong action on climate change.

“To give our Reef the best chance for the future, Australia must join the rest of the world to rapidly phase out coal and other fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy,” he said.

For interviews and more information contact David Cazzulino on 0447 238 095 or [email protected]


Professor Pratchett was yesterday announced in the top 1% of global scientists, based on citations or research impact. For further details on the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list:

For the full Reef Climate Tourism Declaration from May 2018 see here.

Photos of the event can be found here.