The Australian Greens are urging the Queensland and federal governments to act on the Australian Coral Reef Society's recommendation against expanding the Abbot Point coal port, in the society's report out today.
"Our top coral reef scientists are telling us we need to decide between protecting Great Barrier Reef and digging up the Galilee Basin," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
"In an age of climate change, it's scientifically impossible to do both and, with the world moving from fossil fuels to renewables, the Galilee Basin coal mine proposals are economically unviable anyway.
"Turning our Reef into a highway for coal ships will come back to bite this World Heritage Area through ocean acidification, more dangerous storms and cyclones and coral bleaching.
"If the Galilee Basin was a country burning its coal would make it the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world.
"The Abbott and Palaszczuk governments' Reef 2050 Plan for the World Heritage Committee completely ignores the impact of the Galilee Basin coal mines on the Reef and other World Heritage Areas
"The World Heritage Committee will undoubtedly be concerned by these climate impacts at its upcoming meeting to decide whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as 'In Danger'.
"As well as the climate impacts, the Australian Coral Reef Society also warns of localised impacts, including that the dredging at Abbot Point will rip up seagrass beds, which are feeding and breeding grounds for dugongs and turtles.
"We have viable renewable alternatives that won't cost our Great Barrier Reef and the 69 000 jobs it provides," Senator Waters said.