A new report from the Australian government shows that the country’s own proposed carbon emissions target will kill the Great Barrier Reef along with hundreds of marine species and the livelihoods of those communities who depend upon it for survival. The peer-reviewed Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report also states that an average global temperature rise of 2°C will kill off the reef.
“The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has set a target for emissions of 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide, in line with other world leaders. This report shows, by the Government’s own admission, that if the world sets its target at 450ppm, the Reef will not outlive Generation Y.” – Geoff Lazarus, Climate Action Canberra
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, the largest living organism on Earth, and is home to over 1500 marine fish species, six out of seven of the world’s sea turtles, and over a third of the soft coral species worldwide. The Reef’s unequaled biological diversity makes it one of the world’s most important natural habitats, and is recognized as such by the listing in the World Heritage List.
“Despite the fact that a major Government authority has confirmed that this world icon is dying from the effects of global warming, world leaders seem utterly indifferent to its plight. People need to understand that a rise in carbon levels to 450ppm will ensure the destruction of this great international icon and ecosystem.” – Lazarus
The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report (PDF) outlines the disastrous negative effects of ocean acidification, increased water temperature from global warming effects, changing sea levels, coral bleaching, and increased severity of cyclones and sea storms on the health of the Reef’s ecosystem. 15% or more of the Reef has already been damaged by coral bleaching, and the negative impacts of these are increasing in both severity and frequency.
“The latest scientific reports are telling us that we need reduce emissions to below 350ppm; bearing in mind that we are already above that, at 387. The Outlook report not only confirms previous scientific analysis warning of grave dangers facing the Great Barrier Reef, but also confirms, yet again, that climate scientists are correct in calling for substantial and immediate reductions in CO2.” – Lazarus