Covid and Christmas used to hide failure to protect Great Barrier Reef

Greenpeace

Greenpeace Australia Pacific has slammed the Morrison Government’s decision to release a report on the status of the Great Barrier Reef just days before Christmas when many Australians are distracted by the festive season and surging covid cases.

Yesterday the Australian Government published its updated Reef 2050 plan as it lobbies to keep the global icon off the World Heritage Committee “in danger” list while simultaneously ignoring the fundamental problem of climate change. [1]

“The Morrison Government has long been derelict in its duty to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the threat of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels and it’s telling that they have sought to bury this report by releasing it just a few days before Christmas,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said.

“They’ve sabotaged international negotiations, tried to silence the scientists and now they are trying to sneak this out like vandals in the night”.

“The outlook for the Reef is not good and this so-called plan won’t make much difference because it relies on the government’s fanciful and comprehensively discredited plan to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Instead of playing political games to keep the Reef off the World Heritage Committee’s in danger list, the Morrison Government should live up to its obligations and tackle the root cause of the destruction of the Reef – climate change caused by the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas”.

Australian Government scientists have identified climate change as the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef, a fact that has been acknowledged by Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

Scientists are currently warning that the Reef, which has suffered three mass bleaching events caused by marine heatwaves in the last five years, is at risk of bleaching again in January next year.

The World Heritage Committee will vote on whether or not to place the Reef on the in danger list at their next meeting in Russia in June. That decision will be informed by a reactive monitoring mission to the Reef in the first half of next year and a report back from Australia that is due before February 1 next year.

Notes

[1] https://www.awe.gov.au/parks-heritage/great-barrier-reef/publications/reef-2050-long-term-sustainability-plan-2021-25

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