The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Site and significant economic contributor to Australia. Tourism, fishing, recreation and scientific research all rely on the existence of the reef. In a public survey, 95 percent of Australians believed the Great Barrier Reef was an iconic Australian landmark that contributes to Australia's national identity and international standing. Climate change can lead to the unbalancing of marine ecosystems and coral bleaching, both of which need to be avoided to insure the longevity of the reef.
Most Australians believe the world’s climate is changing. Australia has pledged to the Paris climate agreement, which sets out to limit global temperature rise to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. While this has catalyzed technological innovation and industry change within the country, some experts believe not enough is being done in Australia to reach its target. This has prompted additional government funding to pay for carbon abatement projects, implemented to try and reduce the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
The energy sector in Australia is heavily dependent on coal and coal mining; one of the most polluting energy sources. The country is seeing a shift towards more renewable energy sources to combat and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For a country whose economy relies heavily on the mining industry, finding a balance between economic security and environmental impact mitigation poses its own set of challenges.