Made you look this far, didn’t I?
OH! Did I say “anal bleaching?”
Sea temperatures around the reef near Queensland, Australia, have reached a year-long high, putting coral at risk of extreme heat stress, according to a UN report.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned that the reef is more at risk now than it was just before its previous worst-ever bleaching last year, when a quarter of all coral was killed off.
It said a ‘lack of planning’ for climate change was to blame.
The report, which was presented to the UN on Friday, said that ‘unprecedented severe bleaching and mortality of corals in 2016 in the Great Barrier Reef is a game changer’.
The vast coral reef is under pressure from agricultural run-off, the crown-of-thorns starfish, development and climate change.
Last year swathes of coral succumbed to devastating bleaching, due to warming sea temperatures, and the reef’s caretakers have warned it faces a fresh onslaught in the coming months.
Canberra updated the UN’s World Heritage committee on its ‘Reef 2050’ rescue plan in December, insisting the site was ‘not dying’ and laying out a strategy for incremental improvements to the site.
But an independent report commissioned by the committee concluded that the government had little chance of meeting its own targets in the coming years, adding that the ‘unprecedented’ bleaching and coral die-off in 2016 was ‘a game changer’.
‘Given the severity of the damage and the slow trajectory of recovery, the overarching vision of the 2050 Plan… is no longer attainable for at least the next two decades,’ the report said.
shallow-water corals in the north of the 1,400-mile (2,300-kilometre) long reef, although central and southern areas escaped with less damage.
The government has pledged more than £1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect the reef over the next decade, but researchers noted a lack of available funding, with many of the plan’s actions under-resourced.
The latest assessment comes after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned the Queensland State government of an ‘elevated and imminent risk’ of mass-bleaching this year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
With heavy use of coal-fired power and a relatively small population of 24 million, Australia is considered one of the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.
Researchers highlighted that the government’s rescue plan does not do enough to address climate change, noting that ‘new coal mines pose a serious threat’ to the reef’s heritage area.
And about that other thing?