The Greens say confirmation in the Reef Snapshot: Summer 2021-22 of the sixth mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef lays bare the Morrison Government’s near-decade of failure on climate action.
The Snapshot confirms the Reef has suffered the fourth mass bleaching event since 2016, and the first in La Nina conditions, with 91% of surveyed areas showing signs of bleaching.
Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and Queensland Senator Larissa Waters:
“The weekly updates while the summer surveys were being carried out indicated mass bleaching, but it is still shocking to see the scale of the crisis laid out in the GBRMPA Snapshot.
“This Snapshot reinforces what the Greens, scientists and environmental groups have been saying for years: the Reef is in critical danger.
“Four mass bleachings in six years, and extensive bleaching even during La Nina, is a death sentence for our World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, a risk for all the workers who rely upon it, and an indictment on the Morrison Government.
“Yet another mass bleaching episode, coupled with the government’s commitment to continuing with its climate destruction, increases the likelihood that the Reef will be added to the In Danger list at the next World Heritage meeting.
“Instead of reducing our emissions to save what’s left of the Reef, the Morrison Government is getting behind 114 new coal and gas projects and throwing public money at companies accelerating the climate crisis and putting the Reef in more danger, sadly with the support of Labor.
“Just as eminent Reef scientist Professor Terry Hughes told my inquiry into the Reef in 2014, ‘you can’t have coal and the Reef, you have to choose’.
“This government is utterly captured by fossil fuel interests, and they’re prepared to sacrifice the climate and the Reef to keep those coal and gas donations flowing.
“The 60,000 people who rely on the Reef for their livelihood, and anyone who cares about the Reef, will vote them out.”
“Without a change in government, and Greens in balance of power to push Labor to phase out fossil fuels, the Reef doesn’t stand a chance.
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson on healthy oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:
“We are now witnessing the tragic and completely avoidable end of the Great Barrier Reef.
“Make no mistake, the death of the Great Barrier Reef is a political choice.
“Report after report has warned about the catastrophic fate of the Reef under a business as usual scenario from our leaders.
“Transformative action to reverse climate change impacts on the Reef has been possible, but a lack of political will and determination has let us down. Science tells us Liberal and Labor emissions targets will equal more annual coral bleaching events.
“A vote for Liberal or Labor this election is a death sentence for the Great Barrier Reef.”
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson on environment and water, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young:
“The climate has changed. The pollution crisis is here and it’s killing our Reef.
“While the Morrison Government keeps spending billions of dollars expanding fossil fuels, that makes climate change worse, the Reef will suffer.
“Our environment is at breaking point. Without a creditable plan to cut pollution and a commitment to no new fossil fuels, no amount of spin can save the Morrison Government from international shame in relation to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Greens are the only party with comprehensive plans to tackle the climate crisis, invest in water quality measures to protect Reef catchments, support regional communities to plan for the future, and protect Australia’s iconic species and World Heritage places.”