Operation Reef Defence

A Sea Turtle in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Charter Yachts Australia
A Sea Turtle in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Charter Yachts Australia

Sea Shepherd Australia has joined the Stop Adani Alliance in an effort to stop the proposed Carmichael coalmine from polluting one of the most-pristine marine environments on Earth: the Great Barrier Reef.

The Indian-owned Adani Group proposes to build one of the world’s largest thermal coalmines in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.

Adani expects to produce 2.3 billion tonnes of coal over 60 years, mainly for export to India, whilst pumping 4.7 billion tonnes of planet warming greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Despite the Queensland Environment Department fining the Adani Group for carelessly releasing sediment stormwater during Tropical Cyclone Debbie at a level many times higher than allowed, the Queensland state government has made a deal with Adani, with mining expected to begin in 2020.  Back home in India, the Group is facing fraud and corruption charges yet the Australian federal government wants to provide a $900M concessional loan to help them along.

Why Stop Adani?

Sea Shepherd’s Mission is to defend, conserve and protect the marine environment and all the creatures that inhabit it.

If the Adani coalmine goes ahead, it will significantly contribute to climate change, which is already responsible for killing half the coral in the Great Barrier Reef in well-documented bleaching events in the past two years.

Great Barrier Reef and Abbot Point

The mine will have a direct impact on the Great Barrier Reef, as the coal will be exported to India via a busy shipping terminal on the Queensland coast at Abbot Point, the most northerly deep-water coal port in Australia, located 25 kilometres north of Bowen, Queensland.

The Abbot Point coal port in Queensland. Photo: News LimitedThe Abbot Point coal port in Queensland. Photo: News Limited

The port lies directly opposite the Great Barrier Reef, increasing the risk of collisions, spills and excessive coal dust that can harm coral.

The terminal will be expanded to accommodate coal from the Carmichael mine, which will involve dredging. 

Dredging in Cairns, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Xanthe Rivett / CAFNEC / WWFDredging in Cairns, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Xanthe Rivett / CAFNEC / WWF

This is notoriously problematic for surrounding coral, since it stirs up sediment, which degrades water quality and starves coral of sunlight.  Dredging will also rip up and destroy important habitat such as seagrass beds, and will kill marine life in the process.

Excessive coal dust can also cause coral bleaching, which is currently occurring along the reef, and will result in the loss of precious breeding grounds for marine fish and animals, including Humpback whales, who migrate through the Great Barrier Reef during the winter months to calve.

Our Oceans, Marine Life & Climate Change

In addition to the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, ocean warming leads to a reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the ocean and causes sea levels to rise from thermal expansion of seawater and melting sea ice. Rising temperatures, coupled with ocean acidification, affects all marine species and ecosystems. 

Any creature with a calcium carbonate skeleton such as crabs, shellfish and corals will not be able to secrete calcium carbonate to grow their skeleton, because the carbonic acid in the water essentially dissolves and does not allow these compounds to form.

Rising temperatures also affect vegetation and reef building species, such as coral and mangroves, which protect coastlines from erosion and sea level rise. 

Rising sea levels and erosion will affect low lying island countries in the pacific, as well as densely populated coastal regions in countries around the world, including Australia.

Through accelerating global warming, the Carmichael coalmine will affect all marine species and ecosystems. Excessive coal dust can cause coral bleaching, which is currently occurring along the reef, resulting in the loss of precious breeding grounds for marine fish and animals.

Rising sea temperatures also directly impact on the climate through changing weather patterns.

The Great Barrier Reef is already reeling from the effects of climate change, and given the state of the world’s oceans, the Great Barrier Reef is of global significance, and it deserves our outmost protection.


Latest campaign news:


Adani activists spell out grievance
| Townsville Bulletin, October 9, 2017
Thousands take to the streets with chants of Adani Go Home! | India Today, October 9, 2017
Queenslanders join Stop Adani protest day | News.com.au, October 7, 2017
Sea Shepherd joins Stop Adani Alliance and the fight for our Great Barrier Reef | August 1, 2017

You can follow the campaign by searching for #StopAdani on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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