Aussies dress as dead coral to protest climate policy

DRESSED as bleached, dead coral, environmental activists protested yesterday near the Sydney Opera House over the plight of the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian Government's response to climate change.

The event came hours before Environment Minister Greg Hunt was due to sign the global climate change agreement in New York.

Greenpeace Australia's Nikola Casule said there was good reason for Mr Hunt being under pressure over severe bleaching on the reef.

"Australians can see right through the hypocrisy of the government talking about the reef's health while allowing the mining and burning of coal to go on at unprecedented levels," she said.

"Our reef is dying before our eyes. We need a credible plan to mitigate climate change and move to a coal-free economy."

GetUp environmental justice campaigns director Sam Regester added: "It takes a rare combination of greed and cowardice to sacrifice one of the wonders of the world for your mates in the coal lobby."