Friday, 25 May, 2018

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

Bleached coral Great Barrier Reef A diver inspects dead coral another symptom of the Great Barrier Reef's environmental degradation
Cristina Norman | 01 May, 2018, 12:41

"The more we know about the reef, the better we can protect it", explained yesterday Josh Frydenberg, the Ministry of Environment.

The Australian Government's largest single investment for the Reef sees a $443.3 million partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to invest in projects to tackle key risks to the Reef and seek co-funding from private investors and philanthropists. "We want to secure the future of the reef for the benefit of all Australians, especially those who make a living with it", said Malcolm Turnbull.

A little more than 11 percent of the money will go to federal and park agencies "to expand environmental management and compliance operations on the Reef", the government says. The reef's health and prospects are increasingly grim. This is a matter of concern because such bleaching was noticed in 1998 and 2002 but, appears to have become more frequent now probably due to climate change.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system, is in a dismal state. "If the Turnbull government was serious about saving the reef, they would be willing to take on the industry responsible for the damage".

The scheme involves financing to increase the water purity by decreasing contamination from agricultural practices and promoting the rehabilitation of reefs by testing lab-grown corals which are more long-lasting at elevated temperatures, as reported by the New York Times. The plan still awaits final approval.

It's true that corals' health is more at risk if they are already stressed by bad water quality and predators, so Australia's current efforts aren't entirely pointless.

"We must improve water quality".

Crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat coral, have also been blamed for a large percentage of the decline in coral cover between 1985 and 2012, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

- AU$100m to harness the best science to implement reef restoration and funding science that supports reef resilience and adaptation.

Frydenberg was cautious about whether the reef could be revived, arguing that experts had told him that it could be "remarkably resilient".

The funding will be confirmed in the May budget, according to the newspaper.

The fight for the reef has helped to open up a debate in Australia over the future of coal, the nation's second-largest export earner which has been blamed by scientists for causing greenhouse gases that have contributed to man-made climate change. "We urge the government to address the cause of the problem".

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