Bleached coral found at Ribbon Reef.
Bleached coral found at Ribbon Reef.

Hunt under pressure over coral bleaching

FEDERAL Environment Minister Greg Hunt is under pressure over the Coalition's climate change policies following the revelation that 93% of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by coral bleaching.

Mr Hunt reportedly came under attack during a phone hook-up on Wednesday night with state and territory environment ministers.

It was organised after Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles appealed earlier in the day for an urgent meeting with environment ministers to be held in Cairns to discuss the threat of climate change and the bleaching on the reef.

"The meeting was quite heated - obviously he (Mr Hunt) was defensive of his emissions reduction fund policy," Dr Miles told the ABC yesterday morning.

Shortly after the hook-up, Mr Hunt left for New York to sign the Paris climate change agreement.

Earlier, he criticised the way Dr Miles had gone about calling for the national meeting, saying he had "not bothered to pick up the phone".

A national meeting in Cairns was ruled out during the hook-up, but ministers agreed to hold regular phone conferences.

Earlier this month the Queensland Government was accused of endangering the Great Barrier Reef after it granted mining leases for Adani's $22 billion mine rail and port project in the Galilee basin and at Abbot Point.

"What on earth could possibly justify letting off the biggest carbon bomb on the planet," Greens Senate candidate Andrew Bartlett said at the time.