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Great Barrier Reef Suffers Most Widespread Bleaching Ever As Rampant Coal Use Takes Its Toll

SYDNEY, April 7, 2020 - Coal-fired climate change has caused the Great Barrier Reef to bleach for the third time in five years, with the latest attack devastating already struggling corals from far North Queensland to the southern Reef.

Head of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, Professor Terry Hughes, said the scale of the destruction took researchers, who had been expecting “a relatively mild bleaching event” by surprise.

“This is a coal-fired crisis that not only threatens the natural wonder that is the reef but also the many communities and tourism workers who depend on a healthy reef for their livelihoods which are already at risk from the coronavirus outbreak,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Acting Program Director, Kate Smolski, said.

“Coal is driving both the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian Federal Government’s inaction on climate.

“The coal industry is the biggest driver of climate change in Australia. Greenpeace is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take climate change seriously, get out of bed with the fossil fuel industry, and protect the Great Barrier Reef by urgently reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, which have been rising for over four years.”

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