Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in danger from ‘weak’ government targets on CO2 emissions

Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef is in danger of extinction due to the government’s low target cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a report released today has said.

Yesterday the Rudd Labor Government was heavily criticised by the country’s environmental movement for establishing a “weak” target of reducing its carbon emissions by 5 to 15 percent. The range depends on a world agreement on reducing climate change coming into effect, said the government report.

However, a statement released today by Dr. Janice Lough, principal research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences inTownsville, Queensland, said the government’s relative inaction has condemned the reef to death through global warming.

“We are committing ourselves to more outbreaks of coral disease, more mass bleaching and ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide,” she said. “We are already seeing dramatic impacts on the Great Barrier Reef — with mass coral bleaching events — and scientists are anxiously watching this summer’s sea surface temperatures.”

Dr. Lough’s research on climate change in Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reef, has already revealed climate zones off the coast moving southwards by almost 200km since 1950. Environmentalists say the evidence, and lack of government action, means the end for the reef.

Yet, while Australian environmental groups have condemned the decision as “weak,” the Rudd Labor Government has insisted it has “got the balance right,” particularly with respect to the global economic downturn.


The Tech Herald, 16 December 2008. Article.

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