Great Barrier Reef endangered

Oil to burn, coral to die

Feature story - 22 August, 2003
Australia, home of the Great Barrier Reef, is the last nation on Earth that you'd expect to be knowingly destroying coral habitats. But that's just what will happen if the state of Queensland approves an expansion in shale oil operations -- unless you help stop them.

Climate change is threatening coral reefs worldwide.

Coral reefs around the world are suffering from climate change. As the climate heats up so do the oceans, causing the organisms that give coral its colour and food to die.

Climate change is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.

Studies show that without a significant reduction in fossil fuel emissions coral reefs could disappear in less than 100 years.

An example of this problem is Australia's world famous Great Barrier Reef, which lies off the state of Queensland. At around 2000 kilometres long it is the world's largest reef. But unless projected levels of climate change are slowed, much of the reef will be dead in decades.

Last year the reef experienced its worst ever case of coral bleaching, with over 60 per cent being affected.

Now this threat is being highlighted by the proposed expansion of Southern Pacific Petroleum's Stuart Shale Oil project near Gladstone in Australia - just off the southern end of the reef.

Right now, the second stage of the project is waiting to be accepted or rejected by the Queensland government.

The development of a shale oil industry would more than double Australia's greenhouse emissions - increasing climate change. This would spell disaster for the reef.

The government will make its decision within the next few months.

Until then, you can help the Queensland government make up its mind to reject the project.

Send an email to Queensland Premier Beattie with our sample letter or use the form to write your own. Remember writing your own letter provides a more personal tone and will probably have more of an impact.

Writing and/or faxing is an even more powerful way to make your voice heard. You can write to him at:

Hon Peter Beattie MP


PO Box 185

Albert Street

Brisbane Qld 4002

or fax him at: +61 7 3221 1631

Take Action!

Send an email to the Queensland Premier by clicking here.

Send an e-card to your friends asking them to take action too.

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Discuss this story by clicking here

Visit Greenpeace Australia Pacific to find out more about shale oil.

Download our Coral bleaching, climate change and the Great Barrier Reef briefing (pdf 76k).