Palaszczuk Government calls for urgent climate talks

Published Wednesday, 20 April, 2016 at 02:58 PM

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles

The Palaszczuk Government is calling on the Federal Government to convene an urgent meeting of the nation’s Environment Ministers to talk about measures to address climate change in light of the worsening coral bleaching event striking the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland’s Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles – who is also the State’s Minister for the Great Barrier Reef – has written to his Federal counterpart Greg Hunt, calling for the meeting to be held as soon as possible in Cairns.

“I have written to Greg Hunt requesting he convene this meeting in Cairns so that ministers and officials can see firsthand the devastating effects of warmer ocean temperatures on the Reef,’’ Dr Miles said.

“We have to move quickly on climate change. Disturbing research by Australia’s foremost marine scientists released today has shown 93% of the reef has now been affected.

“Given the scale of bleaching being experienced, the clear link to global warming, and the lack of a coherent effective national policy, I am calling upon the Federal Government to convene an urgent Meeting of Environment Ministers so we can discuss developing real climate change policy.

“Our Great Barrier Reef continues to be an extraordinary marvel and the 1.9 million people who visit it each year are a testament to that. But what’s going on now is a serious wakeup call.      

“Scientists have confirmed that coral bleaching is a phenomena largely caused by warmer oceans and acidification caused by global carbon pollution,’ he said.

Dr Miles said the Turnbull Government committed to reduce Australia’s emissions at the Paris talks last year but had failed to implement any policy to cap and reduce pollution to meet the Paris target.

“The Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, has been downplaying the seriousness of the coral bleaching because he knows the major cause is global warming and we still haven’t seen any meaningful climate change policy from the federal level.

“If the Emissions Reduction Fund is all they have to offer then we’re in trouble because it has been proven the Fund won’t reduce emissions year on year. In fact land use changes in Queensland alone will more than wipe out any benefit of the multi-billion dollar fund,’ he said.


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