For the past few days, I’ve been mostly focused on a statement on climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, made by a group of scientists (+ me as an economist) organised by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Scientists, and called, not suprisingly, the FASTS Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Alliance. I’ve put the media release, issued on Tuesday, over the fold. There’s more on the web page including a link to a very valuable document entitled “When is Science Valid?”.
Great Barrier Reef: 50 per cent chance of survival
Today an unprecedented Alliance of Australia’s top reef and climate scientists will tell law makers that the GBR has a 50/50 chance of survival if global emissions aren’t cut by at least 25 per cent by 2020.
And by 2050, emissions would have to decline by up to 90 percent below 2000 levels.
Members of the FASTS GBR Climate Change Alliance will drive home the message that action to cut emissions is required immediately in Australia and across the globe.
FASTS’ President, Professor Ken Baldwin said: “This is our Great Barrier Reef. If Australia doesn’t show leadership by reducing emissions to save the Reef, who will?
“Scientists are leading the charge because the evidence cannot be ignored to the detriment of future generations of Australians”.
The scientific evidence sends a strong signal to decision makers that leadership and concerted global action is required to save the GBR.
Alliance members will remind parliamentarians that more than 100 nations have endorsed the goal of limiting average global warming to no more than 2oC above preindustrial temperatures. Many environments including coral reefs would be under considerable risk even with this warming scenario.
“Coral reefs are in the frontline of the effects of climate change. The ‘outstanding universal values’ of the GBR have already been altered by rapid climate change.” Professor Baldwin said.
Each year, the GBR contributes $5.4 billion to the Australian economy. The economic, environmental, cultural and social value of the GBR cannot be underestimated.
The FASTS GBR Climate Change Alliance consists of 13 internationally respected and leading Australian researchers. The Alliance’s statement to parliamentarians and FASTS’ document When is Science Valid? are available at: www.fasts.org
Canberra, 17 November 2009