Morrison Government missing in action as Reef outlook goes from bad to catastrophic
SYDNEY, Feb 2 2022 - A new study warning that almost all coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, will suffer regular heat stress even if global heating is capped at 1.5 degrees Celsius provides further proof of the urgent need for the Morrison Government to rapidly reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. 
With the Great Barrier Reef facing a fourth mass coral bleaching in six years, an international study by researchers, including those from Townsville’s James Cook University, found that the safe havens for coral reefs usually provided by factors such as cool upwellings, deep water, and cooler ocean currents will not be enough to protect reefs if temperatures continue to rise, with just 0.2 percent of the world’s reefs tipped to avoid regular heat stress.
“Our politicians have long known that climate change is the number one threat to our precious Reef. When will they act on it?” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner Martin Zavan said.
“The outlook for our Reef has gone from devastating to catastrophic but instead of addressing climate change, which is the number one driver of the decline of our beautiful Reef, the Morrison Government is pocketing record donations from the fossil fuel industry and handing out billions of dollars of taxpayer money to those same donors, whose projects are putting the Reef at dire risk.
The announcement comes just as the World Heritage Committee due to publish a report submitted by Australia, on the measures it is taking to protect the Reef since Environment Minister Sussan Ley spearheaded a lobbying campaign to keep the Reef off the conservation body’s “in danger” list.
As part of that World Heritage process, a reactive monitoring mission will be visiting the Reef in the first half of this year to help inform committee members before they again vote on whether to add the Reef to the “World Heritage in danger” list in June.
It comes as ocean temperatures in parts of the Great Barrier Reef are at their highest since records began in 1900 and some coral bleaching has been confirmed. If a mass bleaching event is declared it would be the fourth in just six years.
“It’s deeply frustrating that Environment Minister Sussan Ley and Scott Morrison know that climate change is driving the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef but consistently refuse to act with the urgency necessary to give the Reef a fighting chance and instead engage in deceitful international lobbying to cover their failure to protect one of the world’s greatest natural wonders,” Mr Zavan said.
“Ley and Morrison should worry less about their donors in the fossil fuel industry and worry more about protecting our beautiful and vitally important reef that supports an incredible marine ecosystem and the multi-billion dollar Queensland tourism industry.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan
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