There’s no doubt that the Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most breathtaking natural wonders. The expansive coral garden is so vibrant and colourful, it needs to be seen in person to be believed. But sadly, we may not be able to do that for much longer.
You may have heard the reef is endangered, and as it turns out, we don’t have as much time as we think to do something about it. According to a new climate report, the window of opportunity to save the Great Barrier Reef is closing. If we don’t do something about global warming in the next few years, we’re likely to see the total destruction of the reef by 2030.
The report from United Nations body for climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, outlined that global warming must be kept under 1.5 degrees in the next year to avoid drastic consequences. If global warming reaches 1.5 degrees, coral reefs would decline by a further 70 to 90 per cent, and virtually all would be lost if it rises to 2 degrees.
Not only would the reefs be endangered, but there likely be an increase in natural disasters like cyclones, drought and heavy rain, as well as a threat to our health, livelihoods, food security, water supply and economic growth.
In order to avoid this outcome, radical change is needed, which will involve “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” including the energy and agriculture sectors, transport, the built environment and industry.” To stop global warming rising above 1.5 degrees, the report states that coal use for electricity must be “reduced to close to 0 per cent” by 2050 — so, we’re likely to see a switch to more renewable energy sources. It also states that global net human-caused carbon emissions must decline by about 45 per cent by 2030 and reach zero by 2050.
While the purpose of the climate report is mainly to urge policymakers to take action, there are still things we can do as individuals to help. Check out these simple tips for being more sustainable and reducing your carbon footprint.