Fossil fuel companies must be held to account as reef suffers fifth mass bleaching event in a decade

With the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority today confirming the fifth mass coral bleaching event on the reef in eight years, the Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the Albanese government to stop approving coal and gas projects.

“It is devastating to see the footage emerging from Great Barrier Reef, bleached of its vibrant colour, looking bleak and lifeless,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Let’s be absolutely clear about what is happening on the reef.

“Coral bleaching is caused by excessive ocean heat, which is being fuelled by the continued burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.

“Companies like Woodside and Santos are making mega profits – and planning to expand their operations – while they wreck the climate we all share.

“We’re losing the places and wildlife we love because of climate wreckers like Woodside and Santos.

“There have been at least five new fossil fuel projects approved by federal governments since the last mass bleaching event on the reef.

“Absurdly, our governments don’t even consider the climate damage new coal and gas mines will have on places like the Great Barrier Reef.

“Woodside’s proposed mega polluting Scarborough gas project will further warm our planet, and harm our reef – and our governments are allowing this to happen. It’s left to groups like ACF to challenge this in the courts.

“Enough is enough. The Albanese government must draw a line in the sand and say no to any further applications for new or expanded gas, oil and coal projects.”

ACF’s case asking the Federal Court to stop Woodside’s massive Scarborough gas project until its impact on the Great Barrier Reef is assessed will go to trial on 2 September 2024.

Header pic by Xanthe Rivett

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