The Greens are committed to protecting Australia’s marine environments and taking strong action to address the growing threats they face. Australia’s beaches and oceans are famous. We have unique marine species found nowhere else in the world, but right around the country, our oceans are under threat.
Our Reefs are under Threat
The World Heritage Committee expressed “extreme concern” for the future of the Great Barrier Reef and warned that it could be placed on the World Heritage in Danger list if the dredging and shipping bonanza for new and expanded coal and gas ports continued.
The Australian and Queensland governments continue to treat the Reef like a coal and gas highway, and risk jeopardising the $6 billion tourism economy around our Reef, and the 67,000 jobs it supports in our coastal communities.
The Western reefs are also under threat. Greens Senator Rachel Siewert called on the Government to strengthen protection for Western Australian reefs and reinstate marine parks to help combat worsening coral bleaching, following the release of the Climate Council’s report – Australia’s coral reefs under threat from climate change.
Living reefs – Dying coal
The Greens outline in their policy Living reefs – Dying coal concerns that the mining and burning of coal is driving dangerous global warming which threatens to kill our magnificent Great Barrier Reef and endangers the 69,000 Australian jobs it supports.
The Reef has been hit by the worst ever mass coral bleaching, with 93% of reefs affected. Scientists estimate that 50% of bleached coral may die. If we don’t keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, the best science tells us we will lose our precious coral reefs completely.
The Greens have a plan for the future which includes:
- No new coal or gas
- Justice for workers and communities
- Pricing pollution from mining
- Stop giving miners tax-free fuel
- Thermal coal export levy
- RenewAustralia with clean energy
- Re-invest in the reef.
Below are some links to independent publications which cover various issues relating to the Great Barrier Reef and reefs globally. The Greens do not necessarily endorse the content of these publications but we provide them as interesting background.
The heading links to the draft chapter deleted from a UNESCO report at the request of the Australian Government. See article in the Guardian about the Interference by the Australian government, admitted by the Federal Department for the Environment here. The threat from climate change, includes rising sea temperatures, accelerating rates of sea level rise, changing weather patterns and ocean acidification.
Other significant threats include coastal development, agricultural run-off pollution, port-based shipping activities, illegal fishing and outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish. Assailed by multiple threats, the GBR has been assessed as being poor and deteriorating. Half of its coral cover has been lost over the last three decades.
Without global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions coupled with local management responses to increase resilience, current projections suggest that coral cover could decline to 5-10% of the GBR by the early 2020s from 28% in 1985 – a potential loss of 80% in just 40 years.
The Climate Council reports that a disaster is unfolding in one of the world’s most precious natural icons, the Great Barrier Reef. Rapidly warming oceans, driven by climate change from the burning of fossil fuels and an El Niño event, has led to a global bleaching event. Its key findings are that:
- The longest global coral bleaching event on record is underway due to record breaking ocean temperatures driven by climate change and El Niño.
- Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on Earth, but they are under threat from climate change.
- The future of coral reefs around the world depends on how much and how fast we reduce greenhouse gas emissions now and in the coming years and decades.
The Guardian reports on the federal Environment Minister’s failure to consider the impact of coal from the proposed Adani mine and climate change. The Australian Conservation Foundation challenged Greg Hunt’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael mine in the federal court. The report has lots of links to interesting articles on the threats to the GBR.
The Guardian reports on threats to the Great Barrier Reef and the landmark case being taken by the Australian Conservation Foundation challenging Greg Hunt’s approval of the Adani coal mine in Queensland.
The Conversation has published several articles about the threats to the Great Barrier Reef (all include lins to further information) including:
Climate change is only one of the threats facing the Great Barrier Reef. Others include pollution from agricultural activities on land and other developments, such as the construction of ports and other infrastructure, dredging and shipping within the reef.
30 May 2015
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29 May 2015
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25 May 2015
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20 May 2015
Posted May 2016