Herald Sun – Climate change, coal terminals … Great Barrier Reef under constant threat
CLIMATE change and the development coal terminals on the Queensland coast could permanently destroy the Great Barrier Reef, a marine expert warns.
In his keynote speech at the David Thomas Conservation Oration in Sydney on Monday, Professor Callum Roberts will say that the Great Barrier Reef is under threat once again.
“The threat of oil and gas exploitation on reef in 1960s and 1970s really triggered national anxiety about the reef and grew the movement to protect it in perpetuity in a marine park,” Prof Roberts, a marine conservation biologist at the University of York in England, told AAP.
“People feel that having the reef in a marine park means it is taken care of, but it isn’t really.
“Although the park is doing its very best to protect the reef well, it is being subjected to climate change impacts, which respect no borders.
“At the same time, we’re seeing a major push towards industrialisation of the Queensland coast for the construction of ports and harbours, particularly coal export facilities.
“With something as sensitive as the Great Barrier Reef, you have to ask yourself what is it you want in the long term?”
“Do you want those ports or do you want the Great Barrier Reef to continue being great, because you can’t have both.”
Prof Roberts said that to properly safeguard Australia’s marine environment, a conversation about the long-term ramifications of a booming resources sector will be necessary.