Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Climate Change BY: Michelle Innis

Summary of Article: A recent government report in Australia revealed that the Great Barrier Reef is in great danger. The report was supposed to reassure the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization that the Great Barrier Reef was not in danger and that the risks were being handled, but it proved the opposite. Climate change, flow of farm chemicals and costal sediment is creating a great threat for one of Australia's treasures. In addition, the Queensland State Government plans on building one of the world's largest coal mines 200 miles from the reef. However, the report failed to mention the government's intentions and how harmful this would be to the reef. Even without the coal mine the reef is suffering, according to scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence of Coral Reef Studies. They found the reef has suffered the worst coral bleaching and die off product ever recorded. Nonetheless there is hope thanks to the Queensland Government's, "Reef 2050 Plan." This plan outlines 151 different measures to limit segmentation and nitrogen runoff and is currently underway. However, this plan is extremely expensive it is estimated that it would cost about $6 billion, to be spent over 10 years. The report didn't offer any new spending measures for the reef or ways to limit pollution. Last month, the government ratified the Paris Agreement, which focuses on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the rates they were in 2005. Nontheless, the Great Barrier Reef is still a huge issue that needs to be addressed before we destroy it.

Some of the various wildlife found in the Great Barrier Reef!
Reef 2050 Plan: 151 planned measures, to limit sediment and chemical runoff. 32 measures have been completed, and 103 are underway or about to begin.

The Queensland government commissioned a study to estimate the cost to improving water quality and the reef's health. The study estimated the cost to be about $8.2 billion Australian dollars. This was extremely higher than the $1.5 billion that the state and federal governments said would be spent on the reef over the next decade.

The Great Barrier Reed is 1,400 mile long.

Paris Agreement made last month to help limit climate change by the Australian government. The agreement's target is to reduce gas emissions to between 26 and 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

“The major impacts on the reef will most likely result from the long-term release of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," stated that Ian Chubb, formerly Australia’s chief scientist and now the chairman of an independent panel on the reef. “There are effects already,” he continued. “This year saw the most significant coral bleaching event ever recorded for the reef.”
“The scale of the investment required is commensurate with the scale of the challenge,” the study said. “Virtually all of the relevant science indicates the Great Barrier Reef is in decline,” said Ian Chubb."

Check out this video to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef and the life that exists in it, as well as on why it it starting to die!

Analysis of Article: The content of this article is noteworthy because the Great Barrier Reef is one of nature's greatest treasures and it is in serious danger. Due to our greenhouse gas emissions, mining, fishing the reef is slowly dying unless we act now. Many people aren't aware of how their fertilizer runoff or car emissions contribute to climate change are effecting the reef. The Australian government clearly knows that the reef is important because they planned on spending over a billion dollars on working to improve it. It is extremely important that we work to preserve it because there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. The reef is also home to tons of species of fish, different types of coral and many amazing creatures that can't exist without it. If the reef continues to die, these species will become extinct or have to try to adapt to another environment in order to survive. Hopefully, people recognize how incredible the Great Barrier Reef is and do their part to try and protect it.

"The progress to date does not reduce the urgency to address key issues and risks,” said Unesco.

My Big "Takeaway: I think its extremely concerning how fast we are impacting such the vast and beautiful reef. There is nothing else in the world that is quite like the Great Barrier Reef. The most concerning issue is that people don't realize that their everyday impacts are greatly harming this magnificent area of nature. If people in Australia worked to limit their runoff of fertilizers by being aware of the areas of the bodies of water around them, the Great Barrier Reef would be in better shape today. In addition, if we all limited our gas emissions then climate change would be less of a pressing issue and the coral reefs would be bleached less so the Great Barrier Reef would be in less danger today. This article made me realize that if we all starting taking small actions such as using less fertilizers to reduce runoff or carpool or walk somewhere to reduce gas emissions, that would help our environment greatly. We are running out of time and unless we starting acting fast some of nature's greatest treasures will be devoured by our ignorance. Every action matters, and we need to start now!

The breathtaking Great Barrier Reef at sunset

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