• Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered its third mass bleaching in five years.
  • The Welsh government will plant a national forest that will span the length and breadth of the country.
  • Vehicle emissions drop in March due to COVID-19, but what happens when driving returns?
  • And more…
Electrek, By Fred Lambert

© Electrek | Great Barrier Reef suffers third mass bleaching

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has suffered its third mass bleaching in five years. It’s feared that warmer ocean temperatures, particularly in February, caused the bleaching.

The 1,400-mile Great Barrier Reef system is a Unesco World Heritage site but is at risk of losing its status due to the widespread bleaching.

Some previously untouched areas have now suffered “moderate or severe bleaching,” according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which oversees the reef. However, scientists have also found healthy pockets of coral.

Its northern reaches experienced severe bleaching in 2016 and 2017, and as a result, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgraded its long-term outlook to “very poor.”

Chief scientist David Wachenfeld told the BBC:
The reef had only just begun recovering from impacts in 2016 and 2017 and now we have a third event. 
Climate change is making the extreme events that drive those impacts both more severe and more frequent, so the damage in an event is worse. 
The reef is still a vibrant, dynamic system but overall, with every one of these successive events, the reef is more damaged than previously. 
We need to take these events as global calls for the strongest possible action in climate change.
The UN has warned that if temperatures rise by 1.5C, 90% of the world’s corals will die.

The Welsh government, led by Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford, is working to plant a national forest that would run the length and breadth of the country. The forest will connect existing protected woodlands with large-scale tree-planting projects. The purpose of this massive undertaking is to fight climate change.

The forests will also provide habitats for endangered animals such as the red squirrel and the black grouse.

The project has been allocated £5 million, and £10 million will go toward the Glastir Grants, a sustainable land management program.

The Welsh government intends to plant 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) a year, increasing to 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) per year as quickly as possible (see page 129 in the low-carbon Wales report).

This article was originally published by Electrek.
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