17 Apr 2024


The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia is urging Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to take strong climate action in response to potentially the largest loss of coral on the Great Barrier Reef since records began.

It comes as a new Great Barrier Reef Snapshot Report features a map which shows areas of extreme bleaching, where more than 90% of coral is bleached, extend throughout most of the Reef.

Professor Terry Hughes posted the map confirms “the 5th event in just 8 years is the most severe & the most widespread ever”.


Dramatic before and after pictures from near Lizard Island show the impact of climate change. In December, an 8km long reef front adjacent to Lizard Island had more than 80% coral cover, now more than 90% is either bleached or dead.

A section of the Great Barrier Reef near Lizard Island in December 2023 © George Roff, CSIRO
The same section of the Reef near Lizard Island in March 2024, with more than 90% of coral bleached or dead. © George Roff, CSIRO

“After five mass bleaching events in eight years, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the most frequently bleached reef systems in the world,” said Richard Leck, Head of Oceans, WWF-Australia.

“The Caribbean has lost 80% of its coral cover. Is that the future we want for our national treasure?

“We’re calling on the Prime Minister to commit to a federal emissions reduction target of at least 90% below 2005 levels by 2035, stop approving new fossil fuel projects, and support the worldwide push for a global treaty to phase out all fossil fuels.”

“On the very day the extent of extreme bleaching has been confirmed, the Queensland government is introducing ambitious climate and renewable energy target bills designed to tackle climate change which is cooking the Reef.

“It’s crucial the state opposition supports both the emissions target and renewable energy target bills.

“Mr Crisafulli and his team can show Queenslanders where they stand on dealing with the crisis threatening the existence of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Leck said.