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Great Barrier Reef

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Julie Bishop with her counterpart Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Bishop’s headwear attracted attention and some criticism in Australia. EPA/Stringer

Julie Bishop’s Barrier Reef mission

Julie Bishop's high profile as foreign minister must surely be rivalling that of Kevin Rudd.
The World Heritage Committee has called for a comprehensive assessment not just of the threats to the Great Barrier Reef, but of their cumulative effect. AAP Image/Australian Institute for Marine Science, Ray Berkelmans

Is Australia meeting the UN recommendations for the Great Barrier Reef?

The government says it has met all of the recommendations for safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef. But a close reading of the dozens of UN recommendations shows that many have been only partly fulfilled.
The new Reef 2050 plan is taking the long view on protecting the Great Barrier Reef - but does it have the right vision? Nickj/Wikimedia Commons

Government unveils 2050 Great Barrier Reef plan: experts react

The federal and Queensland governments have unveiled their blueprint for protecting the Great Barrier Reef for future generations. Will the $2 billion plan succeed? Our experts give their verdicts.
Turtles are among the species that could be harmed by dredging, even under the government’s new dredge dumping rules. AAP Image/University of QLD

Six ways Australia is selectively reporting to the UN on the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian government’s latest report on the Great Barrier Reef, submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre last Friday, has been carefully crafted and word-smithed, with many of its claims supported…
During an outbreak, crown-of-thorns starfish can number in the millions and decimate coral reefs. Australian Institute of Marine Science/AAP

How scaring starfish could help to save the Great Barrier Reef

Crown-of-thorns starfish are one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Since 1985, the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover, with almost half of this coral loss due to the crown-of-thorns…
A diver on the Great Barrier Reef with a pair of Barrier Reef Anemonefish – cousins of the clown fish made famous in the film “Finding Nemo”. Flickr/Richard Ling

Six things Queensland’s next government must do to save the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a national and global icon, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981. Since then, it’s become apparent that this vast array of marine ecosystems – stretching along 2,300 kilometres…
Should coal projects be held responsible for the greenhouse emissions that flow from their product, even if it’s burned on another continent? CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Court challenge will test coal mining’s climate culpability

A new legal challenge to the proposed Carmichael coal mine – Australia’s largest – will test in the federal court whether climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions should be taken into account…
After mass bleaching in 1998, more than half of coral reefs in the Seychelles have slowly recovered. Nick Graham

Obituaries for coral reefs may be premature, study finds

Coral reefs are the poster child for the damage people are doing to the world’s oceans. Overfishing, pollution and declining water quality have all taken their toll on reefs around the world. Perhaps the…
Coral reefs are like an underwater metropolis – and function in similar ways. Simon Gingins

It’s survival of the most useful when protecting species

Consensus is growing that we are steering towards a sixth mass extinction event. There are calls for increased efforts to stop the accelerating loss of plants and animals. But do we really need to protect…
You didn’t need a onesie to get hot under the collar about sharks in 2014. AAP Image/Theron Kirkman

2014, the year that was: Environment + Energy

Want a single word to sum up environmental affairs in 2014? Let’s go with “heated”. The year began with the realisation that 2013 was Australia’s hottest ever (and yes, it’s because of us), and ended with…
Over the past three years, there’s been increasing concern over the future of the Great Barrier Reef. american_rugbier/Flickr

The Great Barrier Reef should not be listed as ‘in danger’

The Australian government has stepped up its campaign this month to prevent the Great Barrier Reef being listed as a World Heritage site “in danger” at international meetings next year. The World Heritage…
Flying over Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Kiyo/Flickr

The plan to save the Great Barrier Reef is destined to fail unless …

The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble, and a draft government plan to ensure its survival does not go far enough. A number of submissions including those from the Australian Academy of Science and Environmental…
Much of the Great Barrier Reef is in poor health. Scientists have called for dredging decisions at Abbot Point to be reopened. Flickr/Robert Linsdell

Abbot Point dredging debate needs to be reopened: experts

Approval for dumping dredge spoil within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at Abbot Point could be reopened, with port developers…
Tony Abbott may have planted a few trees, but he’s also sought to bury many of Australia’s environmental safeguards. Britta Campion/AAPImage

Abbott’s environment agenda is even harsher than he promised

Before the 2013 election, Tony Abbott gave us fair warning that he would turn the clock back on the environment. As promised, his government has devoted itself to short-term economics and the sort of hardline…

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