06 Junio 2017 09:48
Almost 95% of the coral is at risk of dying
The Great Barrier Reef is about to disappear as we know it. Because of rapid climate change there is no longer a tenable solution. Instead, it might be necessary to list it as a World Heritage Site in Danger and aim merely to 'maintain the ecological function' of the reef. That is the view of experts from Australian government science agencies.
The mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 have made the death of the reef all but inevitable. In one study carried out in 2016 by Coral Reef Studies, scientists analysing a 700km stretch found that 67% of shallow water coral had suffered discoloration and was about to die.
In 2015, the federal and Queensland government’s Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan was released in an attempt to 'ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to improve on its outstanding universal values'. After a meeting of the Reef 2050 Independent Expert Panel last month, the experts issued a communique stressing that 'action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases must be central to the response.'
The experts also stated that the plan should be revised to aim for something more achievable. At the moment, a more realistic objective would be to 'maintain the ecological function' of the reef, particularly its function as a place that provides food and shelter for fish.
A spokeswoman for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority told The Guardian that 'the concept of "maintaining ecological function" refers to the balance of ecological processes necessary for the reef ecosystem as a whole to persist, but perhaps in a different form.'