Oceanographers and global leaders have banded together to stop the proposed Adani Carmichael coalmine in Queensland. The team, known as the “Ocean Elders” have written to Malcolm Turnbull, outlining the devastating effect the mine will have on the reef.
The group of “Ocean Elders” which includes renowned marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle argues that the Adani coal mine will damage efforts to lessen the effects of climate change and will increase global carbon emission. Earle explains:
"We are in a runaway situation with respect to a warming planet, changing [the] chemistry of the ocean, we know what to do, it’s a matter of being smart enough, courageous enough, bold enough, sensible enough, to go in this better pathway.”
Earle clarifies that the numbers aren’t just “speculation” but a real and prominent threat after monitoring showed the reef was in serious decline.
"I am not alone being upset about what is happening to the Great Barrier Reef. I know people in Australia who are upset, but this is a world heritage area, a place that is unique and the people who live in Australia have a particular opportunity to take action that can influence something globally, not just now, but far into the future.”
The letter was signed by Earle; Prince Albert II of Monaco; Sir Richard Branson; Swiss balloonist Dr Bertrand Piccard; prominent oceanographers Dr Walter Munk, Capt Don Walsh, and Jean-Michel Cousteau; former Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres; Queen Noor of Jordan; Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson; microbiologist Dr Rita Colwell; CNN founder Ted Turner; and adventurer Sven Lindblad.
“The 4.7bn tons of carbon dioxide created over the proposed life of the mine from the burning of the coal, whether in Australia, India or any other country, will further contribute to the damaging effects of climate change, including increases in global air and ocean temperatures, increased acidity of oceans, and destruction of coral reefs,” the letter outlines.
The ‘Ocean Elders” also point out that the demand for coal in a global market has declined significantly, so the Australian government’s economic case for supporting the mine is not justified.
The letter is urging Australia to “demonstrate climate leadership” by abandoning the mine. This is the second time the “Ocean Elders” have written to Turnbull, the first letter in April 2016, advised Australia to opt for alternative energy sources and get rid of coal.