As climate change continues its assault on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch has called for global action to tackle the issue head-on.
Speaking at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Ms Enoch said more needed to be done – at every level of government and across industry – to address the large-scale challenges created by our rapidly changing climate.
“Scientific evidence shows climate change is the single biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Enoch said.
“In Queensland, we’re doing everything we can to tackle this and build the reef’s ability to bounce back from climate impacts, but our work needs to be supported by the rest of the world.
“This summit is an opportunity to unite and step up our mitigation efforts on a global scale to address arguably the greatest challenge facing our planet today.
“We need to continue encouraging people to reduce their impacts on the climate and minimise their carbon emissions, and we need this change in behaviour to dramatically increase, as a matter of urgency.”
Climate change and the resulting sea level rise, ocean acidification and increased temperatures have had a drastic effect on the reef, with two back-to-back mass coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 and more severe cyclones.
“This shows us that climate change will have far-reaching consequences for coastal and marine ecosystems for decades to come,” Ms Enoch said.
“It’s why the Palaszczuk Government is committed to reducing Queensland’s carbon pollution by 30 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, and then reaching zero net emissions by 2050.
“We’re also investing heavily in measures to address other challenges facing the reef. An example is our work to improve water quality by reducing nutrient and sediment run-off from our catchments.
“But we need to work together, across the world, to tackle climate change, to ensure some of our most precious and extraordinary natural icons are preserved for generations to come – because once they are gone, they are gone forever.”