This is a clear and urgent call for action from the normally dour public servants and scientists who look after one of Australia’s most precious places.
In response to a statement by the board of the Wet Tropics Management Authority calling for urgent action to halt climate change damage to the World Heritage Site, Australian Conservation Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said:
“The Wet Tropics Management Authority’s extraordinary call to action is again evidence climate change is not just a political game of ‘costs’ and cheap attacks on solutions like electric cars. Climate damage is hurting Australia right now and a responsible government would act commensurate with the threat.
“While much has rightly been made of the damage climate change is doing to the Great Barrier Reef, we know significant harm is also being done to almost all of Australia’s World Heritage sites like Kakadu and Shark Bay.
“Our political leaders must explain how they will protect places like the Wet Tropics of Queensland by urgently cutting our climate pollution and showing global leadership to encourage other countries to do likewise. And they must explain how they will invest in building the resilience of our natural world so it is in the best condition possible to handle what warming is already in the system.
“Australians should be deeply alarmed about the destruction rapidly worsening climate change is already doing to the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Site and the wildlife that calls it home.
“This is a clear and urgent call for action from the normally dour public servants and scientists charged with looking after one of Australia’s most precious places.
“The Wet Tropics site covers 450 kilometres of tropical rainforest across northern Queensland, including the Daintree, and is recognised by UNESCO for its exceptional natural beauty and the hundreds of endemic species that call it home.
“Worsening record heat in Australia because of climate change is harming these rainforests in a manner equivalent to the mass coral bleaching that has hammered the Great Barrier Reef. As a result, scientists now warn the Lemuroid ringtail possum is on track to be locally extinct in just three years, and other species are on similar trajectories.
“Without urgent cuts to climate pollution and investment in resilience, more damage will be done to the Wet Tropics. This could undercut the area’s Outstanding Universal Values and threaten it with an ‘in danger’ listing and even eventually loss of its World Heritage protection.
“Ultimately we are witnessing the destruction by climate change of one of the most ecologically important and beautiful places in the world that we as Australians have promised to look after on behalf of all humankind.”