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Victor Bonito / REEF EXPLORER FIJI / AFP

91% Great Barrier Reef is affected by ‘bleaching’

Sydney, Australia | AFP | Wednesday 10/05/2022 – According to a new government report released on Tuesday evening, 91% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has reached “white” due to a prolonged heat wave in the summer.

Of the 719 reefs surveyed, 654, or 91%, exhibit coral bleaching.

This is the first time the world’s largest coral reef has been exposed to such white matter during a La Nina climate event, which is usually characterized by unusually low water temperatures.

“Climate change is intensifying and the rocks are already feeling its effects,” the monitoring report warns, indicating that this is the fourth wave of “bleaching” to hit the rocks since 2016.

Between September 2021 and March 2022, the Great Barrier Reef Maritime Commission, which published the study, conducted a comprehensive study of these rocks on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

He established that the water began to warm in late December and that three main areas where the dam was located were affected by the phenomenon, and that the algae were expelled, giving the coral its color and causing discoloration.

Bleached corals are alive and can recover if conditions improve, but “over-bleached corals have higher mortality rates,” the report said in an initial release in March.

“Not enough goals”

The report was released ten days before the Australian federal election on May 21, during which it will focus on government policy issues on climate change.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stuck to his 2030 carbon neutral target despite calls for more ambition and has pledged to export coal until needed.

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Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections.

Lissa Schindler, an activist with the Australian Maritime Safety Association, warned, “Bleaching is increasingly common and not normal.

“Both major parties need to face the facts: their climate goals are not enough for the rocks.”

Climate 200, funded by the pioneer Simon Holmes A. Court, is a movement that puts forward about twenty candidates in support of a more effective climate policy.

Some of them may threaten current Conservative MPs like Finance Minister Josh Friedenberg.

In June, UNESCO will decide on the list of “endangered” sites for a possible inscription on the Great Barrier Reef.

In 2015, after the United Nations threatened to deactivate the site, Australia introduced a billion-dollar “Reef 2050” security plan.