Great Barrier Reef

Experiment shows coral reefs in peril in a high CO2 climate change world

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg takes us through and explains a controlled experiment his Institute is conducting in coral reef ecosystem reaction to various temperature and carbon dioxide environments. He argues that Coral Reef ecosystems have already changed significantly from pre-industrial times, and will change even further as human carbon emissions increase in the atmosphere with many species likely to be pushed to extinction due to heat stress and ocean acidification from anthropogenic climate change.

Hoegh-Guldberg is Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and an important authority on tropical marine biology, coral reef ecosystems and climate change.


Coal ship boarded by Greenpeace activists off the Great Barrier Reef

In a climate change protest over Australian coal exports, Greenpeace activists boarded a bulk coal carrier while navigating through the Great Barrier Reef on 23 April 2013. The ship, the MV Meister, had just loaded coal from Abbot Point, located 25km north of the town of Bowen on the central Queensland coast.

Abbot Point coal loading facility is being expanded, with four new coal terminals proposed to be built, part of the development of 9 new coal terminals for the Great Barrier Reef Coast.


Coral reefs being pushed to extinction by global warming

Increasing sea surface temperatures are imperilling coral reef ecosystems say Australian marine and climate scientists. A new scientific paper reveals that atmospheric warming of 2 degrees celsius is too much for nearly all the world's coral reef ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef. The scientists argue that to preserve greater than 10 per cent of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting global warming to below 1.5 °C. This equates to the goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm, rather than a 2 degree rise or 450ppm that the UN Framwework Convention on Climate Change has adopted as the safe limit at several meetings.

Atmospheric concentration of CO2 currently stands at 392.41ppm. With current pledged reduction in emissions we are heading for 4.4 °C of warming by the end of the century according to the Climate Scoreboard.

Related: The True Cost of Australia's Coal Boom | Greenpeace report: Boom Goes the Reef: Australia's coal export boom and the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef (PDF) | The Conversation: - Climate change guardrail too hot for coral reefs?

Greenpeace activists say coal ship highlights 'Reef in danger'

Greenpeace activists targeted a bulk coal carrier in Gladstone harbour early this morning. They painted 'reef in danger' on the side of the ship around dawn from two inflatable boats to highlight the massive expansion of coal port facilities and shipping through the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. The action was undertaken to highlight the threat to the Greet Barrier Reef from industrial development and expansion to a UNESCO team visiting Queensland to assess the dangers to the Great Barrier Reef and it's World Heritage status.

Related: Greenpeace Report -Boom Goes the Reef: Australia’s coal export boom and the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef (PDF) | Greenpeace - Live Action! A painted picture for UNESCO


How to use a bikelock to save the Great Barrier Reef - protest halts Gladstone dredging

Derec Davies used a bicycle U lock to attach himself to a dredger in Gladstone Harbour this morning. The direct action was taken to protect the Great Barrier Reef against the development of Gladstone harbour liquefied natural gas facilities on Curtis Island to export Coal Seam Gas. Massive Dredging of the Gladstone harbour is occurring which fisherman and environmentalists say is causing turbidity in the water and causing illness of fish effectively closing down the local fishing industry. Development is endangering the World Heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef.

Related: In 2010 Conservationists criticised government over coal ship grounding on Great Barrier Reef near Gladstone | Capricorn Conservation Council: The LNG invasion of Curtis Island | ABC TV Four Corners: Great Barrier Grief | Getup! petition to Save the reef


Cut emissions or lose the Great Barrier Reef

A group of climate activists visited Fitzroy Island this weekend to highlight the need for urgent action on climate change to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The group staged an underwater action on Sunday 5th to draw attention to the predicted climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and the need to stabilise atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at or below 350 parts per million.


On coal company fines, reef shortcuts and environmental justice in Queensland

This week we saw hefty fines of $70,000 handed out to three foreign sailors from a bulk carrier, the MV Mimosa, which was caught travelling through restricted waters of the Great Barrier Reef off north Queensland. Also in the news was the arrest and charging of the master and the chief officer on watch of the Shen Neng 1, which ran aground on the Douglas shoal causing damage in a restricted area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


Conservationists criticise government over coal ship grounding on Great Barrier Reef

Conservationists have criticised the Queensland State Government and Federal Government for the expansion of LNG and coal for export without acknowledging the environmental harm that will be caused both on land and sea by these industries. Chinese bulk coal carrier the Shen Neng 1 grounded on a reef, is leaking oil and in danger of breakup in a restricted zone about 70km east of Great Keppel Island. It grounded just after 5pm Saturday April 3, 15km from the nearest shipping channel in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a World Heritage listed area.


Scientists call for emissions slashed to save Great Barrier Reef

Marine and climate scientists have called for at least a 25% cut in carbon emissions from developed countries like Australia to save the Great Barrier Reef. A 25% cut in emissions would amount to peaking at less than 450ppm atmospheric CO2 and a 50/50 chance of staying below 2 degrees Centigrade. And by 2050, emissions would have to decline by up to 90 percent below 2000 levels. Even with this scenario tropical reefs may be substantially degraded.