March 23, 2023

Australian authorities had itself downgraded Great Barrier Reef’s long-term outlook to “very poor” (File).


Australia will strongly oppose a UNESCO plan to record the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” over its deterioration brought on by local weather change, the federal government mentioned Tuesday.

The UN physique launched a draft report on Monday recommending the reef’s World Heritage standing be downgraded due to its dramatic coral decline.

Environmental campaigners mentioned the choice highlighted Australia’s lack of motion to curb emissions and introduced “shame” on the federal government.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley mentioned Australia would mount a problem after the “back-flip on previous assurances from UN officials”, forward of the World Heritage Committee’s forty fourth session hosted by China subsequent month.

Ley mentioned the choice didn’t contemplate the billions of {dollars} spent making an attempt to guard the world’s largest coral reef.

“This sends a poor signal to those nations who are not making the investments in reef protection that we are making,” she mentioned in an announcement.

Australia has resisted calls to decide to a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying the nation hoped to succeed in carbon impartial “as soon as possible” with out harming its commodity-dependent financial system.

The plan so as to add the reef to the World Heritage “in danger” record prompted environmental teams to focus on Canberra’s reluctance to take stronger local weather motion.

The Climate Council mentioned it “brings shame on the federal government, which is standing by as the reef declines rather than fighting to protect it”.

Aside from its inestimable pure, scientific and environmental worth, the two,300-kilometre-long (1,400-mile-long) reef was price an estimated $4.8 billion a yr in tourism income for the Australian financial system earlier than the coronavirus pandemic.

“The recommendation from UNESCO is clear and unequivocal that the Australian government is not doing enough to protect our greatest natural asset, especially on climate change,” mentioned WWF head of oceans Richard Leck.

In December, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) mentioned local weather change had turn into the largest menace to UN-listed pure world heritage websites and pushed the reef into “critical” situation.

Australia’s personal authorities had already downgraded the reef’s long-term outlook to “very poor” after back-to-back mass bleaching occasions in 2016 and 2017.

Bleaching happens when modifications in ocean temperatures stress wholesome corals, inflicting them to expel algae residing of their tissues — draining them of their vibrant colors.

“I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world’s reefs but it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best managed reef in the world for an ‘in danger’ listing,” Ley mentioned.

The Great Barrier Reef has now suffered three mass coral bleaching occasions previously 5 years, dropping half its corals since 1995 as ocean temperatures have climbed.

The reef has additionally been battered by a number of cyclones as local weather change drives extra excessive climate and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish — which eat the coral — in latest many years.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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