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Australia Says Great Barrier Reef Has 'Very Poor' Outlook, Climate Change To Blame

"A major Australian government report is warning that the time to take action to protect the Great Barrier Reef's long-term future is now."

"The Australian federal government says the overall outlook of the reef to "very poor," a downgrade from the "poor" grade assigned to the reef in 2014, the last time Australia released this type of report."

'Despite concerted efforts and investments, the condition of the Great Barrier Reef has declined since 2014, and this is largely due to the impacts from climate change,' said David Wachenfeld, the chief scientist of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the government agency that released the report."

"The biggest threats to the reef remain the same as in 2014: climate change, runoff from the land, coastal development and some kinds of fishing."

"'What has changed this time is the increasing prominence of climate change as a greater threat than the others,' says Wachenfeld."

Coral reefs are extremely sensitive to warming ocean temperatures. Since the last report, two major coral bleaching events have hit the reef, causing unprecedented coral loss. Sea temperature extremes cause colorful coral to expel tiny algae, causing coral to appear white and putting it at risk of dying if the ocean temperature don't return to normal.


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