Scientists have delivered a big ‘F U’ to Queensland’s biggest newspaper for not reporting the horrific coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef by taking out an ad and doing the work themselves.
The ad was in response to a survey that revealed 93 per cent of the Reef was affected by the bleaching, with the Climate Council publishing a full page ad in the Courier Mail featuring an open letter signed by 56 scientists.
Director of Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, and one of the signatories of the letter, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, said the Courier Mail was at fault for not covering one of the biggest bleaching events in history.
“One of the reasons we placed the ad in the Courier Mail was that we’ve seen very little coverage of the coral bleaching event in that paper and in fact there was a front-page story that said the coral bleaching event had been wildly exaggerated,” he said.
The letter explains that it is the worst bleaching in the Reef’s history, and that it is being driven by climate change.
“The Great Barrier Reef is at a crisis point,” the scientists say. “Its future depends on how much and how quickly the world, including Australia, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit ocean warming.”
It then calls for Australia to rapidly phase out coal-fired power stations and for no new coalmines.
“This must be the top priority for Australia if we are to protect what remains of the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs around the world,” they claim.
The findings were so dire it motivated the Queensland government to call on the federal government to hold an emergency meeting with the country’s environment ministers in attendance in order to discuss measures to address climate change off the back of the coral bleaching event.
The Courier Mail is behind stories such as a story quoting the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, saying the reef remained an untouched beauty.
“The key point that I had from seeing the first of the three parts is that, clearly, the world’s Great Barrier Reef is still the world’s Great Barrier Reef,” Hunt told the Courier Mail.
But a News Corp Australia spokesman told The Guardian that claims the Courier Mail had neglected to report on coral bleaching was “frankly baffling”.
“A quick Google search shows numerous stories have been published including, to highlight just a few, on March 1st, 21st and 30th. And today the paper has covered the issue extensively once again,” he said.
“Equally importantly the paper also exposed Greenpeace’s dishonesty in using deceptive imagery on two separate occasions. Such scare campaigns only serve to undermine the efforts to secure the reef’s future.”