The Morrison Government’s pledge to spend an additional $1 billion over a decade on Great Barrier Reef conservation projects shows that it is willing to do almost anything to protect the Reef, except reduce the fossil fuel emissions that cause climate change, Greenpeace Australia Pacific said.
Today Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce that a re-elected Coalition Government will devote additional funding to improving water quality, eradicating the crown of thorns starfish and cracking down on illegal fishing on the Reef.
“It’s astounding that the Morrison Government plans to allocate so much money to the Reef while ignoring the number one driver of its decline – climate change caused by burning fossil fuels,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner Martin Zavan said.
“A marine heatwave is causing coral bleaching in parts of the Reef right now. If a mass bleaching event is declared it would be the fourth in six years when these events previously happened once in a generation.
“Harebrained schemes like heat resistant coral and more money for monitoring the decline of the Reef will do nothing to prevent the heating of the ocean that is driving the destruction of this beloved and vitally important ecosystem.”
The announcement comes with Australia approaching a 1 February deadline to submit a report to the World Heritage Committee on the measures it is taking to protect the Reef. Last year the committee declined to add the Reef to its “in danger” list after a deceitful lobbying campaign led by Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
As part of that World Heritage process, a reactive monitoring mission will be visiting the Reef in the first half of this year to help inform committee members before they again vote on whether to add the Reef to the in danger list in June.
“It’s an indisputable scientific fact that the Reef is in danger and that is being driven by climate change. It is inexcusable that the Morrison Government has no credible plan for rapidly cutting emissions and continues to promote and subsidise the mining and burning of dirty coal, oil and gas that are the number one drivers of global heating”
“In order to give the Reef the fighting chance it deserves, the Morrison Government must come up with a plan to replace all coal-burning power stations with clean and safe renewable energy by 2030 and commit to net-zero by 2035.”