The cargo ship that ran aground off the coast of Mauritius on 25 July, causing incalculable damage, has split in two and its captain has been arrested.
The Great Barrier Reef and Reef 2050: Greenpeace’s 5 NOs
Greenpeace comes out against Reef 2050, the new plan for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Here is why.
There are further protests against the Reef 2050 plan, the 40 million dollars plan of the Australian government for the Great Barrier Reef’s long-term protection presented by the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The biodiversity of the site is in danger, due to ocean acidification threatening corals, overfishing and coal mines. And in spite of the efforts of the previous labour government that created the world’s largest network of marine reserves (over 2.3 million square kilometres of sea) in 2012, the Reef is still endangered because of the conservative government’s actions, including the expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal.
The new 2050 long-term sustainability plan was jointly written by the Australian and Queensland governments. The environmental association Greenpeace denounces the inefficiency of the plan by explaining in five points what risks would the Reef run if the Reef 2050 plan will be approved.
1- Because of natural phenomena and human activities – including coal mining, agriculture, port activities, transports, tourism, fishing, urban growth and industrial development – more than half the coral cover of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost in the last 27 years and 24 out of 41 water quality values that go toward determining outstanding universal value for the reef had been assessed as deteriorating.
2- The biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is the Abbot Point expansion project that has already been enacted by the Australian government and envisages the construction of a new coal terminal alongside of the pre-existing one. This would result in a doubling of the capacity to coal, which at present accounts for 50 million tons of coal per year. The CO2 emitted through the combustion of such an amount of coal will even out those of South Korea, the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.
3- Climate change is the biggest threat to the Great Reef. Hurricanes and storms are more and more devastating, coral bleaching and ocean acidification are processes caused by global warming that would probably destroy healthy coral reefs.
4- Not only are corals in danger but also seagrasses – similar to the Mediterranean Posidonia – and the species that live in these areas, e.g. dugongs (their population accounts for 3 percent of that of 1960), flatback turtles and green turtle.
5- According to Greenpeace, the Abbott Government’s 2050 Reef Plan appears to be a roadmap to Great Barrier grief, not a roadmap to safeguard a World’s Heritage site as that requested by the UNESCO. This plan allows for massive coal port expansions and barely deals with climate change, despite the Australian government’s own scientists saying in a report of 2014 that climate change is the number one threat to the Reef.
The largest coral reef in the world is severely threatened by climate change, but researchers are developing strategies that could contribute to saving the Great Barrier Reef.
Seychelles have extended its marine protected area, which now covers over 400,000 square kilometres, an area larger than Germany.
Norwegian oil giant Equinor had pulled out of drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight, one of the country’s most uncontaminated areas. A victory for activists and surfers who are now campaigning for the area to be protected forever.
30 per cent of the planet needs to be protected to stop precipitous species decline. The UN has set out its aims for the the COP15 on biodiversity scheduled for Kunming, China in October.
Ocean warming has risen to record highs over the last five years: just in 2019 the heat released into the world’s oceans was equivalent to that of 5-6 atomic bombs per second. The culprit, no doubt, is climate change.
Refusing the anthropocentric vision and respecting the laws of ecology is the only way to safeguard the future of our and all other species, Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson argues in this op-ed.
Once a year on Christmas Island something incredible happens: millions of crabs cross the whole island to reach the ocean, where they drop their eggs.
Malaysian activist Gabby Tan’s mission is to raise awareness about the risks faced by our oceans, and the need to protect them. She spoke to us about her passions and what inspires her.