Climate change is doing damage to coral in the Great Barrier Reef

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1 Climate change is doing damage to coral in the Great Barrier Reef By Michael Slezak, The Guardian, adapted by Newsela staff on Word Count 668 A school of fish hovers over staghorn coral on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/TNS Graeme Kelleher is the former leader of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. He has called for action to protect the giant reef, which is located off the coast of Australia. The Australian government needs to put a stop to new coal mines to protect the reef against climate change, he said. Climate change is the heating up of our planet. It is caused by burning fossil fuels like oil and coal. I love the reef and I have worked to preserve it since 1979," said Kelleher. "I will oppose anything that threatens to destroy it. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth. It spans more than 1,200 miles of islands and underwater reefs, which are made up of over 600 types of coral. Many different kinds of sea life depend on the reef. This article is available at 5 reading levels at 1

2 Coal And Coral Cannot Coexist Kelleher said Australia cannot have both a healthy Great Barrier Reef and a continuing coal business. That's because burning coal releases carbon dioxide. This gas gets absorbed into the ocean. It causes the water temperature to rise. These warmer waters are harmful to coral. Kelleher added his name to a petition started by Greenpeace Australia Pacific. It demands that Australia's leader, Malcolm Turnbull, put an immediate stop to new coal mines. Greenpeace is an environmental group. It is considered too extreme by some. In the past, some of its members have been charged with breaking laws. The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This organization keeps a list of World Heritage sites, important and beautiful places around the world. Some are manmade. Others are natural, like the reef. Reef Could Be Named An Endangered World Site Soon, the Australian government has to give UNESCO a report on the reef. The government must say what they are doing to protect it. Based on this report, UNESCO will decide whether to put the reef on a list of endangered world sites. These are sites at risk of being damaged or destroyed. The government's report will also mention a recent bleaching event that harmed the reef. Bleaching is when coral turns white from damage. This year, the reef experienced the worst bleaching event in history. According to government agencies, almost one-fourth of the reef was killed. This was caused by unusually warm water temperatures. Bleaching does not always kill coral. However, it puts it at risk of dying later. The bleaching was just the latest in a long line of problems, Kelleher said. Over the last 30 years, the reef has lost half of its coral cover, said Kelleher. He added that one of the main causes is climate change. Kelleher said the health of the reef requires action on climate change. This includes a ban on new or expanded coal mines. ACF And Adani Group Face Off In Court One coal mine in particular must be stopped, he said. A huge coal mine is being planned in Australia by a big company called the Adani Group. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is another environmental organization. It is fighting the Adani Group in court. The ACF wants the highest court in Australia to say it is not OK for the Adani Group to build the mine. This article is available at 5 reading levels at 2

3 The ACF will argue that burning coal from the mine will make climate change worse and In the past, the government has argued that there is no link between the mine s coal and climate change. Reef Needs Saving Kelleher said that if the court understands science, it will see a link does exist. The coal from the mine may be burned in India instead of Australia, but this is still close enough to hurt the reef, he said. Shani Tager, who works for Greenpeace, said Kelleher knows a lot about the threats the reef is facing. His comments are a strong reminder of the need to take action to save the reef, she said. This article is available at 5 reading levels at 3

4 Quiz 1 Which of the following answer choices has two MAIN ideas from the article? Global warming has hurt the Great Barrier Reef in recent years. Some groups are taking action to make sure it is protected. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on planet Earth. It is over 1,200 miles long and has more than 600 types of coral inside of it. The Great Barrier Reef has been bleaching recently because of global warming. Bleaching is caused by unusually warm water temperatures. The Great Barrier Reef is in danger from coal mines in Australia. One company that wants to build a coal mine is called the Adani Group. 2 Which sentence from the article is MOST important to include in its summary? It spans more than 1,200 miles of islands and underwater reefs, which are made up of over 600 types of coral. Kelleher said Australia cannot have both a healthy Great Barrier Reef and a continuing coal business. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The coal from the mine may be burned in India instead of Australia, but this is still close enough to hurt the reef, he said. 3 What is the relationship between the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Adani Group? The Adani Group wants to make sure that the ACF does not build coal mines in India. The ACF wants the Adani Group to study whether or not its coal mine will The Adani Group wants the ACF to do more to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The ACF wants to stop the Adani group from building a coal mine in Australia. This article is available at 5 reading levels at 4

5 4 According to the article, what effect do coal mines have on the Great Barrier Reef? Coal mines allow large amounts of coal to be dumped into the oceans and Coal mines dump poison directly into the water, which kills sea life and causes bleaching. Coal mines release gases that cause warmer water temperatures which Coal mining companies use ships that break off large parts of the reef and cause it to die. This article is available at 5 reading levels at 5

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