Tony Fontes says the future of the reef is entirely dependent on the world quickly reducing carbon emissions. Picture: Supplied
Tony Fontes says the future of the reef is entirely dependent on the world quickly reducing carbon emissions. Picture: Supplied

Australia should look to neighbours for climate policy

Letter to the Editor – Contributed by Tony Fontes

As the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry prepares for the post-COVID boom, the reef has just been declared in “critical” condition, according to a sobering report just released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The IUCN is the global authority on nature.

Its third outlook report marks the first time the IUCN has declared an Australian property as critical, which means its values are severely threatened and deteriorating.

The health of four other Australian World Heritage properties has also worsened; the Blue Mountains, Gondwana Rainforests, Shark Bay and the Ningaloo Coast.

Climate change is the key issue behind the deterioration of the World Heritage properties both here in Australia as well as globally.

The future of the reef is entirely dependent on the world quickly reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change. Australia, with so much to lose, should be leading that fight but chooses to do as little as possible.

Both the federal and state governments continue to support the opening of new coal and gas projects as much of the rest of the world moves towards renewable energy.

Here in the Whitsundays, our federal and state members both support new coal mines and the building of a new coal-fired power plant, completely ignoring the threat of climate change and the needs of our tourism industry. Absolute insanity.

Perhaps we need to look across the Tasman for an example real climate leadership.

New Zealand has declared a climate change emergency and committed to a carbon-neutral government by 2025, in what the prime minister Jacinda Ardern called “one of the greatest challenges of our time”.

“This declaration is an acknowledgment of the next generation. An acknowledgment of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now,” she said.

Now that’s how a government takes the lead on climate change.


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