- Second mass bleaching in 12 months devastates Great Barrier Reef
- Great Barrier Reef 'can only survive if global warming is curbed'
- Great Barrier Reef ecosystem under threat as corals continue to die
- New pictures show Great Barrier Reef is not repairing itself properly
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Great Barrier Reef can no longer be saved, Australian experts concede
The Great Barrier Reef – a canary in the coal mine for global warming – can no longer be saved in its present form partly because of the “extraordinary rapidity” of climate change, experts have conceded.
Instead, action should be taken to maintain the World Heritage Site's 'ecological function' as its ecological health declines, they reportedly recommended.
Like coral across the world, the reef has been severely damaged by the warming of the oceans with up to 95 per cent of areas surveyed in 2016 found to have been bleached. Bleaching is not always fatal but a study last year found the “largest die-off of corals ever recorded” with about 67 per cent of shallow water coral found dead in a survey of a 700km stretch.
Now experts on a committee set up by the Australian government to improve the health of the reef have revealed that they believe the lesser target of maintaining its “ecological function” is more realistic. In a recent communique, the expert panel said they were “united in their concern about the seriousness of the impacts facing the Reef and concluded that coral bleaching since early 2016 has changed the Reef fundamentally”. “There is great concern about the future of the Reef, and the communities and businesses that depend on it, but hope still remains for maintaining ecological function over the coming decades,” it said.