The reef’s greatest threats

The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger. The twin perils brought by climate change, an increase in the temperature of the ocean and its acidity, if they continue to rise at the present rate the reefs will be gone within decades and that would be a global catastrophe.
David Attenborough

Our biggest threat

Climate change is the Great Barrier Reef’s biggest threat, causing rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events. The sequential mass coral bleaching we are witnessing on the Great Barrier Reef is the literal effect of climate change.

  • 11 of the 12
    hottest years have been since 2000
  • 90%
    of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans
  • 6°C
    rise in global average temperatures by the century’s end if we don’t act

Did you know?

In 2015 nearly all the countries of the world signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, this set the ambition of keeping globally average temperature rises at 1.5°C. To hit this target we need to massively accelerate the transition away from carbon intensive energy such as coal and, secure major reductions in wasteful material use. To achieve this will require communities and businesses to engage.

Ever increasing waste

Tons of plastic waste end up in our ocean every year; smothering coral and killing wildlife. But it's not the only form of waste devastating our reef. Sediment run off, which is of a result of agriculture, urban development and deforestation, ruins our reef’s water quality. This makes our reef more vulnerable to local stresses, like the crown-of-thorns starfish.

  • 236,000
    tonnes of micro plastic enter our oceans each year
  • 93%
    of material we produce ending up in landfill, atmosphere and our oceans
  • 80,000
    tonnes of pollutant nitrogen enters the Great Barrier Reef lagoon each year

Apathy is the enemy

Too many of us have responded to reef’s threats with apathy rather than action. While the dangers are real and immediate, there is hope. But it is critical that more of us start taking action now.

  • 26 Billion
    tonnes of emmissions must be cut by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees
  • Over 50%
    of corals on the Great Barrier Reef have been lost since the 1980’s
  • 29%
    of shallow water corals died from the bleaching in 2016

Unite for the reef.

Together, we can ease the pressures that the reef faces - but we need your support to do it. Because it’s only when we’re united as Citizens, that our individual actions can come together to make a real, physical impact on the Great Barrier Reef.