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Monday, July 15, 2024

Climate Council warns of danger to reef

UNESCO has warned Australia to urgently ramp up its climate change targets to save the Great Barrier Reef from imminent danger, a warning the Climate Council says is a ‘red flag’ on government inaction. 

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the current approach is lacking.

“The Great Barrier Reef has bleached five times in the past nine years and suffered through its worst-ever heat stress earlier this year, when more than 80 per cent of reefs in the system endured dangerous levels of unnatural heating,” Ms McKenzie said.

“Every new coal and gas project adds harmful climate pollution into the atmosphere and further endangers the Reef. The Government must build upon their clean energy plans by also planning to phase out fossil fuels.”

Climate Councillor, former IPCC author and biologist Professor Lesley Hughes said the impact of climate pollution is driving the Great Barrier Reef to the brink.

“Unless we act faster many other natural and human systems will tumble. The implications of these changes are unimaginable,” she said.

“Australians love and treasure our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef. We understand its irreplaceable value and want to protect it for future generations to experience its wonder and beauty.

“Our government has claimed commitment to protecting the reef, yet continues to approve projects that harm it.”

She said the inconsistency is not just disappointing, but is also destructive.

“Reforming our national environmental law to effectively combat climate pollution is an essential step,” she said.

“We must say ‘yes’ to projects that safeguard the reef and ‘no’ to those that endanger it.”

Ms McKenzie also highlighted the dangers nuclear posed for the wellbeing of the Great Barrier Reef. 

“The Coalition’s energy scheme would increase climate pollution, further jeopardising the Reef’s future by keeping us reliant on coal and gas for far too long,” she said.

“Clean energy solutions like solar and wind are ready to be scaled up now. We must harness them to slash climate pollution and protect the Great Barrier Reef.”

For further information, go to climatecouncil.org.au.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Fundraising dinner on the tarmac and Teenagers charged with wilful damage.

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