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Climate change action

Scientists are tracking the effects of climate change on the Reef.

Climate change poses the biggest threat to the Reef. Climate change is affecting reefs globally through warming of the oceans and coral bleaching. Research has shown though, that if we take serious action on climate change, there is hope.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who is working on the problem, sums it up. "The Great Barrier Reef is still great, but it’s facing some challenges that we need to deal with. The Reef is still here, we can save it."

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg FAA, Director Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg FAA, Director, Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland.

Instead of hypothesising, Professor Hoegh-Guldberg and a team of Queensland scientists have created a series of mini-reef experiments. Water from the Reef is pumped into tanks where they’ve altered temperatures and carbon dioxide levels to simulate climate change.

What the experiments show is:

Reef 1 – Conditions as they are today. The coral is healthy and there is a variety of species.

Reef 2 – Conditions with raised carbon dioxide and temperatures in line with what’s forecast for the end of the century. The coral has all but died off, and there’s not much growing.

Reef 3 – Conditions where we take action on climate change. This is where we see hope. We have corals that are still holding on – that are surviving.

View a video about the mini-reef experiments.

Preparing our communities for climate change

QCoast2100 is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the Local Government Association of Queensland, to invest $12 million to help coastal councils and their communities. It allows them to plan and prepare for storm tide, coastal erosion and rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

Incorporating climate change related coastal hazards into decisions such as where we build new housing developments, how we manage our roads and foreshore areas, and how we organise our emergency services is critical to the safety and prosperity of our communities.

Learn more about QCoast2100.

Adaptation and transition

The Queensland Government plans to radically reduce carbon to achieve zero net emissions by 2050 and make Queensland a leader in the clean growth economy.

The Queensland Climate Adaptation Strategy (PDF, 2.1MB) provides a framework for an innovative and resilient Queensland that manages the risks and harnesses the opportunities of a changing climate.

The Queensland Climate Transition Strategy (PDF, 2.6MB) sets a vision of a zero net emissions future for Queensland that supports jobs, industries, communities and our environment.

Learn more about the Queensland Government's climate change response.

Aboriginal Carbon Fund

The Aboriginal Carbon Fund was established in 2010 as a not-for-profit company to help Indigenous organisations build carbon economies. They’re doing this through carbon farming (largely savanna burning) and recognising broader core values (environmental, social, cultural).

The savanna burning methodology maintains traditional Aboriginal practices and is based on small fires being lit early in the dry season, mostly by Aboriginal rangers. The ‘cool’ burns have reduced greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent larger wildfires that release huge emissions and threaten biodiversity.

Visit the Aboriginal Carbon Fund website for more information.

Take climate action at home

Climate change leads to coral bleaching which is putting serious pressure on the Reef. There’s something we can all do to reduce emissions and ease this stress. At home, you can help by choosing a car based on fuel efficiency, using public transport where possible and buying green energy.

Find more actions on how to help the reef.