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Great Barrier Reef Authority Calls for Urgent Action on Climate Change
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, July 19, 2019 @ 04:30 AM (EST)
Source: The Guardian

North Broken Passage, Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)—the federal agency that manages the GBR—has published a climate change position statement (PDF) calling for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and warning that only the “strongest and fastest possible action” will limit the impacts of climate change on the reef. The government body states that further loss of coral is “inevitable.” Published on Wednesday, the climate statement had been in development for more than a year.

The statement breaks ranks with Australia’s conservative coalition government, which has been criticized for failing to address its obligations to meet emissions targets under the Paris Agreement. The marine park authority highlights the impacts from back-to-back coral bleaching events since 2016 owing to prolonged elevated sea temperatures. “Of particular concern are projections that the reef could be affected by bleaching events twice per decade by about 2035 and annually by about 2044 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate,” the authority said.

For the reef to survive, the authority says there’s a need for both national and international effort to enact policies that drastically cut emissions. Environmental groups quickly chimed in, criticizing the government of Scott Morrison for its lack of action. 

“The prime minister, a former managing director of Tourism Australia, knows how critical the reef is to the tourism industry and to Australia’s international reputation,” said Imogen Zethoven, the strategic director at the Australian Marine Conservation Society. “As the caretaker for the reef and a daily witness to its decline, GBRMPA is crying out for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read more here.




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