Let’s Talk: The Barrier Reef is dying, but let’s mine some more coal

The news has been confronting this week for the Great Barrier Reef.  Coral bleaching is destroying our northernmost part of the
Australia

The news has been confronting this week for the Great Barrier Reef.  Coral bleaching is destroying our northernmost part of the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.  In fact, it is experiencing “the worst mass bleaching event in its history,” according to a statement released Tuesday March 29th by the Australian Research Council.

Yet on the same week, the likelihood of Queensland’s largest ever coal mine going ahead became quite real with the approval of three mining leases to Adani in the Galilee Basin.   The approved leases are 70441 Carmichael, 70505 Carmichael East and 70506 Carmichael North, which are estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal according to the Government’s promotional announcement that came out with the announcement of the leases today.

The three individual mining leases are needed to move forward with the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal, mine and rail project which people say could create up to 10,000 jobs, but which has been contentiously debated.

 

The reef’s damage is said to be being caused by nitrogen runoffs and land-based pollution, and the plans and targets set by the government are unlikely to be met according to the Global Change Biology journal.

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) principal research scientist Dr Frederieke Kroon has spoken with some frustration.

“Land-based pollution including sediments, nutrients and pesticides from agricultural land uses remain one of the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Kroon said.

The reef damage has been documented by the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce (NCBT) in aerial surveys, with observations of more than 500 coral reefs spanning 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) showing that the majority of reefs were undergoing extensive and severe bleaching.

Dredging, and the fallout sediments from it is one of the issues flagged to be a concern to the reef in many public debates.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham confirmed no dredging at Abbot Point would take place until Adani had demonstrated financial closure but that doesn’t mean .

The Premier of Queensland also said in a statement that “stringent conditions would continue to protect the environment, landholders’ and traditional owners’ interests and Great Barrier Reef”.

How do you feel about this conflict of circumstances in Queensland today?  Let’s talk about what you think is more important?  Coal and jobs or our Great Barrier Reef, and can we manage to have both?

 

  1. merridelle CORNEY  

    They can put all the restrictions etc in place but in the end just one mistake could cause irreparable damage to the reef and then a simple ‘Oops. Sorry about that won’t solve a thing. The only way not to damage the reef is not to start anything in the first place. The damage would take several lifetimes to repair (if at all). Put the money into something more eco-friendly and sustainable for the future of generations yet to come.

    • Agree with all you said. I think the government should get rid of all cane farms on the East Coast of Australia, including banana and citric plantations. I also think the that most tourist resorts should be shut down completely and the Islands and coastline be rehabilited back to it’s original form just as mining companied do worldwide when mining ceases. The human footprint has touched critical areas in rainforest and waterways with suburbia and small farming causing irreparable damage to echo systems flora and fauna, and councils with not enough funding to deal with it. The world does really need to stop this activity and I wish you all the success in doing so. Here is supporting documentation for you. Bye Bye XX

      “Land-based pollution including sediments, nutrients and pesticides from agricultural land uses remain one of the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Kroon said.

      The reef damage has been documented by the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce (NCBT) in aerial surveys, with observations of more than 500 coral reefs spanning 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) showing that the majority of reefs were undergoing extensive and severe bleaching.

      Dredging, and the fallout sediments from it is one of the issues flagged to be a concern to the reef in many public debates.

  2. will the government take responsiblity when the reef is destroyed?? its not something that can be replaced. to do what they plan is vandalism to put it mildly.

  3. Warwick Hines  

    Not dead yet: Great Barrier Reef coral cover up 19% in 3 years
    After all those scares about the dying Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Institute of Marine Science today admits that coral cover has in fact increased overall by 19 per cent over the past three years:

    “An updated analysis of the regional and Great Barrier Reef-wide trends shows that from 2012 to 2015 hard coral cover in the central and southern sections of the reef had increased (see Figure 1). In contrast, the northern section shows a decline in coral cover over these three recent years because of an intense cyclone (a second cyclone occurred after the most recent survey) and renewed activity of crown-of-thorns starfish in the region.”

    Sure, there was a decline in coral cover in years before that, and there’s now some bleaching caused by the El Nino – the first serious mass bleaching event in 14 years. But we now know that corals recover much better than the alarmists once claimed.

    As AIMS reports::
    “While the Reef’s coral cover has improved in recent years, the widespread bleaching event will affect its condition. Not all corals that bleach will die, but even partially bleached corals have reduced reproduction and growth for up to two years, which is likely to slow or halt further recovery.”

    The Reef has had setbacks, but the message is that coral reefs recover – which explains why they’ve been there for many, many thousands of years:

    “The decline of coral cover on the mid-shelf and offshore reefs from 1985 to 2012 was caused by the cumulative impacts of severe tropical cyclones, damage by the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) and the previous two mass bleaching events in 1998 and 2002. Additional environmental pressures such as reduced water quality and increased water temperatures further reduce reef resilience, i.e. all affecting the ability of coral reefs to recover from acute disturbance events such as such as cyclones and storms.”

    It seems better reef management has also helped.
    The doom sayers really should apologise.

  4. Pingback: An Australian landmark was named the best place to visit in 2016 | Hot Travel Picks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *