"Widespread coral bleaching has now occurred on the Great Barrier Reef for the
fourth time in seven years. As the world has heated up more and more, there’s
less and less chance for corals to recover.
This year, the Morrison government announced a A$1 billion plan to help the
reef. This plan tackles some of the problems the reef faces – like poor water
quality from floods as well as agricultural and industrial runoff. But it makes
no mention of the elephant in the room. The world’s largest living assemblage
of organisms is facing collapse because of one major threat: climate change.
Our window of opportunity to act is narrowing. We and other scientists have
warned about this for decades. Australia has doubled down on coal and gas
exports with subsidies of $20 billion in the past two years. When these fossil
fuels are burned, they produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that
trap more heat in the atmosphere that also warms the ocean.
If our next federal government wants to save the reef, it must tackle the main
reason it is in trouble by phasing out fossil fuel use and exports as quickly
as possible. Otherwise it’s like putting bandaids on an arterial wound. But to
help the reef get through the next decades of warming we’ve already locked in,
we will still need that $1 billion to help reduce other stressors."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics