Reef Futures Roundtables Report

Published 3 August 2023

The Australian Academy of Science convened groups of experts during March to May 2023 to assess the likely outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in three climate scenarios to provide advice to the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) for the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan).

This report presents the outcomes of the three roundtable discussions: the first on climate impacts on functions of the GBR; the second on interventions; and the third on the future of the GBR. There were 84 participants including scientists, engineers, Traditional Owners, lawyers, policy experts and social scientists. Discussions were supplemented by surveys and written contributions by participants on the day.

The report finds that if current greenhouse gas emissions trajectories are not reduced, and the planet therefore continues to warm, the species, habitats and ecosystems that make up the GBR will fundamentally change. Efforts and resources have been put into the research and management of the GBR, but as we accept our national responsibility to care for this global icon, there is more that can be done, and needs to be done. Existing interventions are important. They aim to buy time for reef ecosystems to adapt. Currently, there is no single known intervention, operating holistically and at-scale, for a sustainable and resilient GBR. There are, however, opportunities to align research and management efforts to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.


Academy media releases related to this work

Climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef could become irreversible – 3 August 2023

Reef Futures Roundtables conclude – 4 May 2023

Discussions continue on the future of the Great Barrier Reef – 14 April 2023

Discussions begin on the future of the Great Barrier Reef – 20 March 2023

Academy to advise on future of the Great Barrier Reef – 8 February 2023

Roundtables terms of reference

Reef Futures Roundtables terms of reference (PDF, 135KB).

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science