Climate change causes severe and widespread coral bleaching event on Great Barrier Reef in La Niña year
SYDNEY, March 18 2022 - The Great Barrier Reef suffering severe and widespread coral bleaching with higher temperatures during a La Niña year when average ocean temperatures are cooler, is clear evidence of the Morrison Government’s failure to protect the Reef from the impacts of climate change, Greenpeace Australia Pacific says.
Earlier today the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) confirmed that the Reef had experienced widespread and severe coral bleaching with the central Reef most impacted by marine heatwaves and temperatures in parts of the Reef up to four degrees above average.
“Warmer oceans caused by climate change have seen our precious Great Barrier Reef suffer severe and widespread coral bleaching during a La Niña year when average ocean temperatures are cooler. This is a sure sign that climate change caused by burning coal, oil and gas is threatening the very existence of our Reef,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan.
“This latest bleaching event has once again exposed the Morrison Government’s failure to protect the Great Barrier Reef, throwing billions at band-aid measures while failing to address climate change, the biggest driver of catastrophic coral damage.
“The catastrophic bleaching comes on the eve of a UNESCO reactive monitoring mission arriving in Queensland to survey the health of the Reef. UNESCO delegates must be taken to see the bleaching and witness the climate damage to our Reef at current levels of warming.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II report has warned that coral reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef, are already at their adaptation limits and will not be able to withstand further pressure like rising ocean temperatures.
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The Great Barrier Reef has been hit by three mass bleaching events in the last six years and appears on the cusp of a fourth. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgraded the outlook for the Reef from “poor” to “very poor” in 2019 and last year the World Heritage Committee made a draft recommendation that the Reef be listed as a World Heritage Site “In Danger” because of climate change.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan
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