Media Release Climate Change

Politicians will fail our Reef if they ignore this climate emergency

April 15, 2021

The Federal Government is on an unforgivable pathway to failing our Great Barrier Reef unless they commit to rapid emissions reductions, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has said.

Australia’s only charity dedicated to advocating for our oceans said recent reports by leading Australian climate scientists further raised the alarm on the growing climate emergency, and underlined that urgent action is essential to prevent major climate disruption to people and environments, including our Reef.

“To give our Reef, the marine wildlife it supports and the communities who depend on it a fighting chance, Australia’s political leaders must stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to climate change. Every day we delay we increase the risk of losing beautiful places like the Great Barrier Reef,” said David Cazzulino, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaigner.

“They must step up the scale and pace of efforts to reduce emissions, phase out coal and other fossil fuels and transition to a jobs-rich renewable energy future, because every degree of warming we can avoid is going to count.

“Thankfully for our Reef and other precious environments, we already have the tools to achieve this. We now need our political leaders to meet the challenge to plan and action a just and rapid transition to bring emissions down sharply in the next 10 years by moving away from fossil fuels.”

Mr Cazzulino said today’s report by the Climate Council underlines the importance of rejecting new coal mines, such as Clive Palmer’s proposed Central Queensland Coal project, which will be built just 10km from the Reef World Heritage Area between Rockhampton and Mackay.

“We know the mining and burning of coal is driving global warming, causing waters to warm and in turn corals to bleach. In the light of growing scientific evidence on the acceleration of global heating, why would the Queensland and federal governments even be considering new coal mine proposals? Especially ones located so close to the Reef. The Queensland government must take a stand to recommend the mine be rejected, and the federal government should jettison the proposal outright.

“Currently our Reef is still a breathtaking, vibrant system supporting an array of incredible marine wildlife and coastal communities across its 2,300km length. But it is in deep trouble and it is changing. The fact is that hard coral cover has been severely impacted by the three mass bleaching events since 2016 and will continue to decline the longer we stall on climate action,” added Mr Cazzulino.

“For the sake of our beautiful Reef and all the life and livelihoods it supports, the time for climate action is now. Anything other than a plan for a rapid shift to a clean renewable future is unforgivable.”