Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
Research | By Wilma Wheeler

Australia Commits $500 Million To Save Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

Australia Commits $500 Million To Save Great Barrier Reef From Climate Change

Image: Bleached coral is photographed on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas, February 20, 2017 in this handout image from Greenpeace.

Aerial surveys conducted in April past year showed more than two-thirds of the coral in the Barrier Reef had experienced "shocking" amounts of bleaching.

The project will aim improve water quality, target coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) and implement scientific reef restoration of the reef.

"We are looking at a whole range of new initiatives, taking the best advice of the experts, working closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure that the reef has its best chance into the future", Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday in Cairns.

The world's largest coral reef, spanning 133,000 square miles, has endured extreme environmental strain in recent years, to the point that a fake obituary that was written for it in 2016 went viral.

Two successive heat waves in 2016 and 2017 killed off almost half of the northern reef's coral, according to a study published this month.

Money would also be set aside for fighting the crown-of-thorns starfish, which feeds on coral and has become an ever-present pest; for enhancing reef-health monitoring; and for community engagement and enforcement.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with around 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish.

"Today's major investment brings real solutions within our grasp", he said. "You can't have both", Ms Casule said in a Greenpeace statement on Sunday.

But it's not just local efforts that are needed, Schubert stressed.

"The key challenge facing the reef is climate change".

President Donald Trump in 2017 announced that the USA would be withdrawing from the historic agreement.

But the cash splash has been met with criticism from conservationists who have accused the government of not doing enough to address the thing that poses the biggest threat to the reef, climate change.

Bill McKebben, the founder of the environment-focused organisation, agreed about Adani.

"Science is well aware of what is killing coral on the Great Barrier Reef - it's the excess heat that comes from burning fossil fuels", he told The New York Times.

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