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An ‘Underwater Garden’ Gets Revealed In Australia

The research teams also saw images of the lasting damage inflicted on the ocean-floor by fishing crews.

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australia, underwater
A man snorkels in an area called the "Coral Gardens" near Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, off Queensland, Australia, June 11, 2015. Scientists recently found similar-looking coral reefs in much deeper water off Tasmania. VOA

Scientists have discovered a colorful “underwater garden” at depths of up to 2 kilometers during a recent research voyage south of Tasmania in Australia.

The researchers used special cameras to probe 45 undersea mountains, finding more than 100 unnamed species of corals, lobsters and mollusks. The expedition also discovered bioluminescent squids, deep-water sharks and basketwork eels.

Experts spent a month onboard the research vessel Investigator, which is operated by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or the CSIRO. It is an independent Australian government agency responsible for scientific research.

Scientists have been exploring the Tasmanian cluster of ridges known as seamounts in Australia’s Tasman Fracture and Huon marine parks.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks, underwater
Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Flickr

The coral they found is soft, which means it is different from the coral in a tropical reef.

The expedition’s chief scientist is Alan Williams from the CSIRO.

“Quite amazingly at these kinds of depths there are coral reefs that in many ways look similar to the kinds of reefs you see in shallow tropical areas, and so what we were seeing on our screens delivered in real time from the cameras were just absolutely fantastic images of these extensive, delicate, colorful and very rich coral reef systems,” he said.

Also Read: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching worsens due to widespread damages caused by warmer Ocean Temperatures

The research teams also saw images of the lasting damage inflicted on the ocean-floor by fishing crews. Trawl fishing was banned in the 1990s but much of the region’s coral is still to fully recover.

Experts say science knows more about the surface of the moon than it does about the deep sea. Despite their research south of Tasmania, they still do not understand why bright corals can survive in a pitch-black world far beneath the surface of the ocean. (VOA)

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Australia Announces Aus$500 Million ($340 Million) Climate Change Package for Pacific Island Countries

The climate-sceptic leader made the announcement before traveling to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu

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Australia, Pacific Island, Countries
Traditionally-dressed representatives from South Pacific nations push their canoes into the water as they prepare to participate in a protest aimed at ships leaving the Newcastle coal port, located north of Sydney, Australia, Oct. 17, 2014. VOA

Australia on Tuesday announced a Aus$500 million ($340 million) climate change package for Pacific island countries, which have been increasingly vocal in demanding their powerful neighbor curb its carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding, drawn from Australia’s existing international aid budget, would help Pacific island nations invest in renewable energy and climate change resilience.

The climate-sceptic leader made the announcement before traveling to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu, where island nations threatened by rising seas have vowed to put global warming at the top of the agenda.

Smaller members of the 18-nation grouping have been sharply critical of Australia’s climate policies ahead of this year’s summit amid a diplomatic push from Canberra to counter China’s growing power in the region.

Australia, Pacific Island, Countries
Australia on Tuesday announced a Aus$500 million ($340 million) climate change package for Pacific island countries, which have been increasingly vocal in demanding. Pixabay

High-level representatives from the likes of Tuvalu, Palau and Vanuatu have criticized Australia for not doing enough, with Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama saying Canberra’s reliance on coal poses an “existential threat” to low-lying islands.

There has also been disquiet in the Pacific that Australia recently approved the giant Adani coal mine in Queensland state.

Morrison has staunchly defended Australia’s climate record, insisting the country will meet its 2030 emissions reduction target set under the Paris Agreement.

“The $500 million we’re investing for the Pacific’s renewable energy and its climate change and disaster resilience builds on the $300 million for 2016-2020,” he said in a statement.

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“This highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbors and friends.”

Greenpeace said the package was nothing more than a diversion of funds from Australia’s Pacific aid program and “a slap in the face to regional leaders”.

“This $Aus500 million accounting trick will do nothing to address the cause of the climate crisis that threatens the viability of the entire Pacific,” Greenpeace’s Pacific head Joseph Moeono-Kolio said in a statement.

Australia, Pacific Island, Countries
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding, drawn from Australia’s existing international aid budget, would help Pacific island nations invest in renewable energy. Pixabay

The tussle over climate action comes as Australia attempts to reassert its influence in the Pacific through its “step-up” strategy, which some regional leaders have warned is likely to fail without meaningful climate action.

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The PIF summit officially opens late Tuesday and continues until Thursday. (VOA)