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Only an End to Global Warming Can Save the Great Barrier Reef


This story originally appeared on the Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The survival of the Great Barrier Reef hinges on urgent moves to cut global warming because nothing else will protect coral from the coming cycle of mass bleaching events, new research has found.

The study of three mass bleaching events on Australian reefs in 1998, 2002 and 2016 found coral was damaged by underwater heatwaves regardless of any local improvements to water quality or fishing controls.

Key Points

  • Hinges on urgent moves to cut global warming because nothing else will protect coral from the coming cycle of mass bleaching events
  • Three mass bleaching events on Australian reefs in 1998, 2002 and 2016 found coral was damaged by underwater heatwaves regardless of any local improvements to water quality
  • Authored by 46 scientists and published in Nature, raises serious questions about Australia's long-term conservation plan for its famous reef which invests heavily in lifting water quality but is silent on climate-change action
  • Applies to coral reefs worldwide.
  • A fourth mass bleaching event "within the next decade or two" gave the badly damaged northern section of the reef a "slim" chance of ever recovering to its former state.
  • The latest event, which was notable for having nothing to do with the warming effect of El Niņo weather patterns
  • "The severity of the 2016 bleaching was off the chart"
  • "In its weakened state, the reef cannot afford the Adani mine"
  • Local management of coral reef fisheries and water quality affords little, if any, resistance to recurrent severe bleaching events


Tags: leftwing.info, leftwing, news, australia, politics, political commentary, labor, Environment, Australia, Queensland, Climate Change, Great Barrier Reef
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