Intensifying climate change remains the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, with the global tourist attraction now worth $56 billion, according to new modelling released from Deloitte Access Economics today.
Climate Councillor and climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said the Reef is under critical threat from the continuous burning of fossil fuels, including coal and gas, driving Australia’s emissions higher.
“The number one culprit is carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The science is absolutely clear – continuing to mine, drill and burn coal, oil and gas will kill the Great Barrier Reef over coming decades,” he said.
Professor Steffen said the new modelling proves jobs associated with the Reef are more than twice the number of positions provided by Australia’s entire oil and gas extraction industry combined.
“The Reef delivers an impressive 39,000 direct jobs to Australia’s economy. That’s more than Telstra or Qantas. In fact, last financial year the Reef delivered more than $6.4 billion in value to the national economy.”
Professor Steffen called on the Queensland and Federal Governments to urgently rethink support for Adani’s planned Carmichael coal mine, saying its development is totally at odds with Australia’s commitment to protecting the Reef and urgently tackling climate change.
“The Great Barrier Reef has already suffered its second mass coral bleaching in as many years as a result of warming ocean temperatures driven by intensifying climate change.
“We’re gambling with this priceless global asset if we persevere with any new fossil fuel developments – and there’s no room for exceptions here."
“Australia can reduce the risk of further coral bleaching on the Reef by joining the rest of the world in turning immediately away from polluting, inefficient and expensive fossil fuels in favour of clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy and storage technology.”
For more information please contact Climate Council Media Advisor Alexia Boland 0430 511 068 or EMC Media Advisor Siobhan Lyttle on 0481 751 579.
Read more in our report, "Risky Busines: Health, Climate and Economic Risks of the Carmichael Mine."