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Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching “deeply concerning”

The Great Barrier Reef is in the spotlight at conservation groups argue with Adani mining
Adani has faced conservation groups in court over potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

Queensland’s Environment Minister has warned the current state of the Great Barrier Reef served as a “climate-change wake-up call”, less than a week after the government approved mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael megamine.

Minister Dr Steven Miles said the latest update from the monitoring teams surveying the impacts of the current coral bleaching event was deeply concerning.

“It is difficult to see our precious Great Barrier Reef under such pressure from bleaching this year, particularly in the Far North which has been generally considered one of the most pristine areas of the reef,” Dr Miles.

“It is still too early to tell what the full impacts will be in terms of how many bleached coral will actually die.

“I know we have some of Queensland’s top scientists out in the water over the next month to better understand the extent of that mortality.”

Coral bleaching occurs when corals are stressed by changes in conditions such as temperature, light, or nutrients and they expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, causing them to turn completely white.

Dr Miles stressed the world’s largest coral reef, which supported almost 70,000 jobs and was worth $6 billion to our economy, continued to be one of the greatest tourism destinations on the planet.

His warning comes just days after the Queensland Government issued mining licences to Adani’s $21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin, which is expected to begin in 2017 as the largest coal mine in Australia.

The burning of fossil fuels has been identified as one of the leading causes of climate change. To make matters worse, the Abbot Point port is being expanded to service the increased pressure of the Galilee Basin coal projects, and sits on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef world heritage park.

The Greens have called on the state and federal governments to stop allowing new coal mines in the wake of the immediate threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

“It’s hypocritical for the Labor and Liberal parties to be expressing concern about coral bleaching when they have just ticked off on the southern hemisphere’s biggest coal mine to export out through the reef and cook it further,” Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said.

“The science is clear – it’s coal or the reef.

“Steven Miles says we need to reduce our emissions and ensure clean water for the reef but the Adani Carmichael mine would generate 4.7 billion tonnes of climate pollution and requires mass dredging on the reef’s coastline which will worsen water quality and rip up seagrass beds.”

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