Dire coral bleaching figures show how Morrison Government has failed Great Barrier Reef


Damage to more than 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef during the most recent mass bleaching event is another damning indictment of the Morrison Government, which has failed to protect the Reef and exacerbated the problem through its support of fossil fuels, says Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

The alarming findings were revealed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s annual Reef Snapshot, which was published last night after advice from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to delay publication while the government was in caretaker mode caused a backlash. [1]

“The Morrison Government tried to hide this report until after the election but sadly the damage that fossil fuels have caused to our precious Great Barrier Reef is so great that it’s like trying to hide an elephant behind under a cocktail umbrella,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner Martin Zavan said.

“More than 90 percent of the Reef has been impacted by coral bleaching and these events are becoming more frequent because of the Morrison Government’s failure to take the action necessary to replace coal and gas with clean energy like wind and solar.

“To give the Reef the best chance of survival, whoever leads the Australian government after the election must have the courage to stand up to the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry and drastically cut emissions by replacing coal and gas with clean energy.”

Climate change has been identified as the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef but the Morrison Government has consistently refused to reduce emissions at the speed and scale necessary to protect it. A recent study found that the Coalition’s climate policy would lead to more than three degrees of warming, which would be a death sentence for the Reef. [2]

Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II report warned that coral reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef, are already at their adaptation limits and will not be able to withstand further pressure like rising ocean temperatures caused by burning fossil fuels.


[1] https://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/the-reef/reef-health/reef-snapshot

[2] https://climateanalytics.org/publications/2022/australian-election-2022-political-party-and-independent-climate-goals-analysis/

The Great Barrier Reef has been hit by four mass bleaching events in the last six years. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgraded the outlook for the Reef from “poor” to “very poor” in 2019 and last year the World Heritage Committee made a draft recommendation that the Reef be listed as a World Heritage Site “In Danger” because of climate change.

Photos of the most recent bleaching event here

Videos of the most recent bleaching event here

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