Hope for Great Barrier Reef, study says

The Great Barrier Reef could survive

if global warming is kept to 1.5°C, a new study says

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR CORAL REEF STUDIES, STUDY CO-AUTHOR, PROFESSOR TERRY HUGHES, SAYING:"The trajectory of the Great Barrier Reef will depend critically on how much hotter the planet gets. If we can hold global warming to 1.5 degrees global average warming then I think we'll still have a vibrant Great Barrier Reef. // But if we go to 3, 4 degrees of global average warming which is tragically the trajectory we are currently on then there won't be much left of the Great Barrier Reef or any other coral reefs throughout the tropics."

The study also found that only 2% of the Great Barrier Reef area

has escaped bleaching since 1998

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR CORAL REEF STUDIES, STUDY CO-AUTHOR, PROFESSOR TERRY HUGHES, SAYING:"If we look across all five events now, 80 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been severely bleached at least once during the last three events since 2016. Across all five events only 2 percent of the Great Barrier Reef remains completely untouched by bleaching. We used to look forward to specific areas of the Great Barrier Reef being less likely to bleach than others but that unfortunately is no longer the case even the most remote, most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef have now bleached severely at least once."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR CORAL REEF STUDIES, STUDY CO-AUTHOR, PROFESSOR TERRY HUGHES, SAYING:"The elephant in the room in terms of Australia's protection of the Great Barrier Reef is global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. So no, I don't believe that Australia has done enough to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The government really needs to make a clear link between Australia's responsibilities for stewardship of a World Heritage area to Australia's policies for greenhouse gas emissions. The government is still issuing permits for new coal mines and for new methane gas deals and that's simply irresponsible in terms of Australia's responsibilities for the Great Barrier Reef."

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