The Great Barrier Reef is one of the greatest natural wonders on the planet and the only living thing that can be seen from space. It is also one of the cornerstones of the Australian tourism industry. However, rising CO2 levels and increasing levels of pollution are devastating the coral and a new report has stated that without prompt action there could be irreparable damage to the reef.
Despite Australia’s natural beauty, there is still scepticism in Australia about climate change and efforts to cut industrial pollution have met with strong opposition. But rising sea temperatures have caused the coral to bleach and die. If the natural toll wasn’t great enough, the Australian Climate Commission believes that if the reef dies, it could see large scale flooding down the east coast of the country.
The report from the Climate Committee and Geoscience Australia have reinforced Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s push for a price on carbon to try to cut emissions in a country which is heavily reliant on coal. The proposal has faced strong political opposition on economic grounds and from sceptics who question the scientific evidence for climate change.
In an article in the Sydney Herald, the Prime Minister said, “With the science so clear we shouldn’t waste time on shock jocks or politicians who rely on false claims to run their scare campaigns. They quote one crank or another in the same way people have argued the world is flat.
My Government will take advice from respected professionals whose credibility is properly scrutinised. I will implement the right plan to cut carbon pollution and reduce the effects we are having on the climate.
The best way to cut carbon pollution is to make up to 1000 of our biggest polluters pay for every tonne of carbon pollution they generate.”
The Prime Minister may face opposition, but the report should help her to keep Australia’s premier alive for generations to enjoy. The reef, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1981, is home to 1,500 species of fish, 215 types of birds and 20 species of reptiles.
Images © eutrophication&hypoxia