We should be able to rely on politicians – not weather – to protect our Reef

As widespread coral bleaching continues across our Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says Australians are sick of hoping for good weather when it comes to protecting our national icon from global warming amidst a lack of political leadership.

With reports of rainfall and a looming tropical cyclone developing over our Reef, there may be some respite from the accumulated heat stress which has been causing coral bleaching in previously untouched southern sections of our Reef, in coastal reefs in central and southern areas all the way up to the far north west of the 2,300 km long living icon.

Despite the weather bringing some relief, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority also says our Reef is not out of danger yet with the peak bleaching to occur in the weeks ahead.

“With our beautiful Reef’s health teetering on the edge, we need politicians to be speaking up and delivering outcomes that will give our Reef a fighting chance in the face of global warming and protect its amazing marine creatures and the 64,000 jobs it supports,” said AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaigner Shani Tager.

“Once again we’re left hoping for the right weather to minimise the impact on our Reef. When it comes to protecting our Reef, crossing our fingers doesn’t cut it, decisive action to cut emissions is needed.

“There is plenty that can be done. Our nation’s best minds have developed the solutions and the advice on how to get there – leave fossil fuels in the ground and transition to renewable energy. Our politicians just need to listen, act and lead for the outlook for our Reef to improve.

“We haven’t heard a peep of concern from the Prime Minister about what’s happening on our Reef. He’s talked far more about pouring taxpayer money into a dirty coal fired power station on the Reef coast which will only make the problem worse.

“In addition to being an ecological wonder, our Reef contributes massively to the economy and supports tens of thousands of jobs, it’s well past time for politicians to start fighting for its future.

“Scientists have said over and over that bleaching is caused by global warming, and that we need to keep global warming well below 1.5 degrees to give our Reef a fighting chance, but we’re still seeing our state and federal governments fiddle about on the edges of this crisis.”

Ms Tager said Australians wanted its governments to lead on the solutions to global warming both at home and on the global stage.

“Politicians at all levels need to show leadership to protect our Reef from the global warming driving widespread bleaching,” she said.

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