11.19.2009 - by Plug In America
Oceans of CO2

What does Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have to do with the global adoption of electric transportation Reduction of CO2 emissions, that’s what. The unfortunate fact is that the Barrier Reef has an abysmal 50 percent chance of surviving if carbon dioxide emissions are not cut a minimum of 25 percent by 2020 according to 13 climate scientists. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes that the Great Barrier Reef will most likely be “functionally extinct” by 2030 if the stellar rise in CO2 levels is not halted — primarily due to coral bleaching. Corals turn into chalky, lifeless skeletal structures when the microscopic organisms that make up the reef die due to ocean acidification and temperatures rising in tandem with the rise of greenhouse gases like CO2.

And that’s where electric cars come in. World leaders are concerned about the effects of automotive emissions on the global climate. Mass adoption of electric vehicles on a global scale or for the 75 percent of the transportation sector that’s currently powered by oil and its by-products could help halt climate change as well as reef die-off caused by CO2 emissions. In the U.S, President Obama is on the right track with his pledge to get one million plug-in cars on American roads by 2015. However, that number may be largely symbolic and not nearly large enough or inclusive enough to actually lower global emissions in the near or long term.

Australia (along with the United States) is one of the world’s largest CO2 emitters per capita; yet the country has only pledged to slice its emissions by five percent from 2000 levels by 2020. The Land Down Under will have to do much better than that if it has any hope of saving one of its greatest natural resources. Australia could begin by plugging into cleaner, more affordable,domestically produced electricity.

Plug in, Australia!

Great Barrier coral by Rein Rache

Photo of coral in Great Barrier Reef by Rein Rache under Creative Commons license.

Posted by Linda Nicholes, Plug In America board member

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