Scientists call for urgent
action to save world’s reefs
SCIENTISTS have signed a statement calling for immediate action on climate change to save the world’s remaining coral reefs.
More than 2500 marine researchers signed the consensus statement from the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, which calls for global action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The statement calls for action to prevent rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, overfishing and pollution from the land.
“The international Coral Reef Science Community calls on all governments to ensure the future of coral reefs, through global action to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and via improved local protection of coral reefs,” the statement says.
Convener of the symposium and director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Terry Hughes, says Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is a prime example of a reef in need of protection.
“Unfortunately in Queensland, the rush to get as much fossil fuel out of the ground as quickly as possible . . . has pushed environmental concerns far into the background,” Professor Hughes says.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently released a report that is highly critical of Australia’s management of the Great Barrier Reef.
UNESCO says the reef could be listed as a World Heritage site in danger unless high-risk coastal developments, including new ports in Queensland, are shelved.