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Reef Report for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Climate Change Enters the Mainstream Consciousness?
The Stern Report Raises Awareness in Australia and Worldwide.

An extensive report commissioned by the United Kingdom was released recently, and itís promoted discussion and awareness worldwide. The source of the report has much to do with the impact it has had. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises The report was produced by a team led by Sir Nicholas Stern, an economist whose extensive credentials include high-level positions in economics with the United Kingdom and the World Bank. The Report's focus on the economic impact of the environmental changes associated with global warming have caught the attention of both political and business leaders.

The report is extensive, but a glance at the summary shows the size of the problem that climate change may cause: a minimum a 5% loss in Global Domestic Economic Production (GDP) each year. Thatís a huge loss of economic output. Balancing that bleak prediction is the reports contention that itís not too late to do something about global climate change, and that successfully dealing with the problem may only cost 1% of the global GDP.

Weíd like to see decisions on working with climate change be done for environmental reasons: to protect the Great Barrier Reef and ecosystems worldwide, to prevent the extinction of climate-sensitive species, to prevent crop failures and famine in effected populated agricultural areas. However, if worrying about the bottom line gets things going, and that solves the problem then letís get going!

There have been a lot of interesting responses to the release of the Stern Report. In Australia and the United States are two countries that produce significant (on a per capita basis.) amounts of carbon dioxide, one of the key compounds associated with causing climate change. In Australia the government has announced a new campaign to reduce its production of the greenhouse gasses that cause the climate change problem. Parts of the proposal have earned praise, while one part, a proposal to build 25 nuclear power plants has not been as well-received in a country that traditionally not pursued the production of electricity by such means.

Two years ago the World Wildlife Federation and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council together released a report forecasting the impact of global warming on the Great Barrier Reef in 2050. In the key findings of this report four recommendations were made:

-To effectively establish and enforce the protected (no fishing) marine park areas.

-To implement and enforce the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan

-To implement and enforce the Queensland Fisheries Management Plan

-Major reductions in Greenhouse gas emissions.

We are glad to see that two years down the line the first three recommendations are being followed. However, the reduction of Greenhouse gas emissions is the next big step, and we urge action, not just to protect the Great Barrier Reef, but ecosystems and the quality of life for everyone worldwide.

United Kingdom announces the release of the Stern Report.

The Stern Report on climate change.

Australian climate change data

The Australian government position on climate change.

The World Wildlife Fund and Queensland Tourrism Industry Council Report.

An opposing view on nuclear power and climate change.

Australia announces nuclear possibility.

United States Environmental Protection Agency climate change portal.

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as† many other local sources in the dive community.

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