Written by Lucy Ross, edited for online by Toby Crockford
The Climate Council has expressed concern over the Federal Government’s boost in funding to combat the recent extreme coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, labeling the additional support as “not enough”.
A new report from the Climate Council revealed the extent of the damage climate change has caused the Great Barrier Reef.
According to the head of the reef’s Marine Park Authority, record high sea temperatures are to blame for the worst coral bleaching in the history of the reef, which has already killed half the corals off the far north Queensland coast.
To make matters worse, strong scientific evidence suggests future bleaching events are likely to become more frequent and severe.
To combat these disastrous effects, the Federal Government committed $50 million to water quality efforts.
Despite the boost in funding, the Queensland Government said however, climate change was ignored in the Federal Budget.
Climate Council’s head of communications, Jessica Craven, agreed that water quality improvements alone would not save the reef.
“We really need to see some policies which are going to encourage coal-fired power station closure and more renewable energy, because that is what is required to tackle climate change,” said Ms Craven.
The Turnbull Government claimed it was doing more than ever to combat climate change, with $171 million boost in reef funding.
Environment Minister Steven Miles said however, overall climate change was ignored in the Federal Budget.
“Sadly there was nothing in the Federal Budget that will actually reduce Australia’s carbon pollution year-on-year, which is very disappointing,” said Mr Miles.
“Even the additional funds provided for localised efforts to protect the reef were not additional new funding, they were within the envelope of funding already advised to UNESCO.”
Mr Miles said the Palaszczuk Government was making a big push for renewable energy and new laws to regulate tree clearing.
“We’re determined to both convince the Federal government to do what it should on global warming, but also use the levers we have available to us to address the carbon pollution we are responsible for.”
Mr Miles said this was a wake-up call for all governments to do everything they can to protect the reef and reiterated the reef cannot be protected without tackling climate change.