Saturday, August 1, 2009

Climate threat to Australia's heritage sites

Josh Gordon in the Age (Australia): The Federal Government has warned that Australian icons such as the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park, the Tasmanian wilderness, Carlton Gardens and the Sydney Opera House could be damaged irreparably if the Coalition fails to support Labor’s emissions trading scheme.

Less than two weeks before a Senate vote on the Government’s climate change legislation, a government report to be released today has found Australia’s 17 world heritage sites could be devastated by lower rainfall, rising sea levels, higher sea and land temperatures, ocean acidification and extreme weather events.

It warns that the Opera House, which is 3.5 metres above sea level, could be swamped by high tides. Eighty per cent of Kakadu’s freshwater wetlands could be lost and the Great Barrier Reef would face "catastrophic" coral bleaching by 2050.

A senior Labor source said the report would mark the beginning of a campaign to pressure Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull on climate change and emissions trading. "We’ll be pulling every policy lever and using every means at our disposal to argue a case to protect jobs and protect the environment by tackling climate change," the source said….

Mist at Yellow Water billabong - Kakadu, shot by Tourism NT, which can be found at

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