Australia has pledged Sunday, April 29, more than 500 million Australian dollar (377 million US dollars) to restore and protect the Great Barrier Reef, jewel of the heritage of humanity, threatened by climate change.
The 348,000 square kilometer reef along the northeastern coast of Australia, the largest coral reef in the world, has suffered severe bleaching events due to temperature increases of the water. It is also threatened by industrial and agricultural activities, as well as by the purple acanthaster, a coral starfish.
The Great Barrier Reef attracts millions of tourists and accounts for $ 6.4 billion a year in the national economy. “We want to secure the future of the reef for the benefit of all Australians, especially those who make a living with it,” said Malcolm Turnbull.
Canberra, which had already pledged $ 2 million to protect the site over the next 10 years in January, has come under fire from environmentalists for agreeing to a giant mine project by Indian group Adani nearby. Because of its dependence on fossil fuels and its small population, Australia is considered one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita on the planet.
Environmentalists praised the government’s announcement, but accused it of not promoting clean energy enough to fight the main threat, global warming. “Promoting the largest coal mine in the world simultaneously while pretending to be concerned about the world’s largest reef is an acrobatic feat that only a cynical political class would attempt,” said Bill McKibben, founder of the international movement for climate 350.org.