Co­ral bleach­ing

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

ON SUN­DAY night, the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity of­fi­cially up­graded their rat­ing of co­ral reef bleach­ing to threat level three: the high­est pos­si­ble.

This bleach­ing would not have oc­curred with­out the in­flu­ence of cli­mate change.

The emis­sions of green­house gases, through the min­ing and burn­ing of coal, is driv­ing the ris­ing sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures and ocean acid­ity that pose the most se­ri­ous threat to the sur­vival of the reef.

The Cli­mate Coun­cil has is­sued an ur­gent alert that finds Aus­tralia has weath­ered El Niño pat­terns for cen­turies, but it was only once global warm­ing be­gan in earnest in the 1970s that the Great Bar­rier Reef be­gan to ex­pe­ri­ence re­peated co­ral bleach­ing events.

Al­though the worst bleach­ing is well to the north of our re­gion, this should be a wake up call to all of us as our town re­lies on a healthy reef for a healthy econ­omy.

Our beau­ti­ful part of the reef could be hit next, and our life­styles and liveli­hoods will suf­fer.

It’s time for all Aus­tralians to stand up and de­mand bet­ter pro­tec­tion for our reef from all gov­ern­ments by ban­ning new coal mines and tran­si­tion­ing away from coal to cleaner, more job in­ten­sive re­new­able en­er­gies. It’s the only way to save our reef.

San­dra Wil­liams Air­lie Beach

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