Queensland tourism operators are calling on the Australian government to act immediately to reduce or halt the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.
A document has circulated addressed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and signed by many tourism-linked companies and individuals, including well-known cruise operators. Guardian Australia online said the original document contained about 170 names.
A shorter version of the document, published in the Mackay Daily Mercury and by the Guardian online, has signatories including Coral Sea Cruises, ProSail Queensland, Queensland Yacht Charters, Rainforest Scuba, Sailing Whitsundays and Whitsunday Catamarans.
Operators in the area have major concerns about the reef, the source of their livelihood. At the same time, many are reluctant to speak out. They don’t want to fuel rumours, make people think the bleaching is worse than it really is, and deter tourists from visiting.
The Great Barrier Reef is currently suffering the worst bleaching event yet seen, with unusually warm water killing much coral in the northern sections.
The document published by the Guardian calls on the government to:
- Rule out any financing or investment in the Carmichael mine or Abbot Point expansion, including for infrastructure like rail and port development.
- Rapidly shift to renewable energy.
- Rule out any new coalmines to rapidly reduce global warming, the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.
The Queensland and federal governments recently approved Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, which would be the largest in Australia.
Researchers calculate that humans are pumping out carbon 10 times faster than at any point since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Billions of tonnes of carbon are released into the atmosphere every year by fossil fuel-burning and other human activity.
In terms of carbon dioxide (CO2), Australia in 2013 was estimated to have released 409 million tonnes. In the same year, China, the biggest emitter, released roughly 87 times that amount.
Written by Peter Needham