The Australian Government must strengthen the draft Reef 2050 Plan before it is released as a final document according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
The World Heritage Committee expressed its “utmost concern” that “progress has been largely insufficient in meeting key targets of the Reef 2050 Plan” and that action “is urgently required to address threats from climate change”.
“The Committee called on the Australian Government to accelerate action “at all possible levels” to address the threat of climate change,” said Imogen Zethoven, AMCS World Heritage Consultant.
“AMCS has many times called on the Australian Government to commit to a national policy and plan that is compatible with doing our fair share of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.”
A 1.5°C compatible plan would mean more than doubling Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target.
“If we don’t keep 1.5°C within reach this decade, the harsh reality is that we will see the rapid and accelerated decline of the Great Barrier Reef in our lifetimes,” Ms Zethoven said.
The Committee also noted its utmost concern that “progress has been largely insufficient in meeting key targets of the Reef 2050 Plan, in particular the water quality and land management targets”.
AMCS has called on both the Queensland and Australian Governments to invest more and accelerate action to meet the Reef 2050 Plan targets. Neither increased investment nor accelerated action is held up by finalization of the Reef 2050 Plan.
The ball is in the court of the Australian Government to:
Take the lead on a climate policy that is compatible with ensuring the future of our most beloved natural icon;
Invest more to accelerate action on water quality; and
Both governments need to do more to reduce the impact of commercial fishing and protect the Reef’s threatened wildlife.