Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Climate Change, Chemicals and Sediment MICHELLE INNIS

"Climate change and the flow of farm chemicals and coastal sediment into the waters that wash over one of Australia’s most significant nature areas, the Great Barrier Reef, pose the biggest threats to its survival..."

The Great Barrier Reef is facing larger problems than ever before. The Queensland state government has approved the construction of one of the world's largest coal mines a mere two hundred miles from the reef.

Although the reef has technically not been called "in danger" these developments provide a glimpse of what the future entails.

As we know, the reef has been deteriorating at a rapid pace. This led to the passing of the Reef 2050 Plan, a thirty five year plan to improve the health of the reef. Josh Frydenberg, who is responsible for Australia’s energy policy, said that “good progress has been made in the first 18 months of this 35-year plan.” This statement is backed up by the update given which shows that "...of 151 planned measures, including the limiting of sediment and chemical runoff from farms and the better management of starfish predators, 32 have been completed and 103 are underway or on track to begin".

Some scientists such as Ian Chubb are claiming that climate change actually has the greatest threat on the reef.

"“There are effects already,” he [Ian Chubb] continued. “This year saw the most significant coral bleaching event ever recorded for the reef.”"
The Reef 2050 Plan is not going to take place over night. It is going to cost billions of dollars to try to insure the safety of the Great Barrier Reef from sediments and chemicals.

Because the government ratified the Paris Agreement that aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% by 2030, environmentalists are claiming the approval of the coal mine shows the government's lack of care for the reef.

"The report to Unesco said the reef’s scale and resilience meant it could recover from the bleaching this year. It said that managing the risks to the reef would be difficult, but that there was a determination to succeed. “The progress to date does not reduce the urgency to address key issues and risks” ."

It seems like the Australian government is contradicting itself. We will have to wait to see how this plays out and hopefully it is not too late to recover the reef.


Created with images by NOAA Photo Library - "reef1253"

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