Australia: UNESCO Barrier Reef report says 'outstanding values' have worsened - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia UNESCO Barrier Reef report says 'outstanding values' have worsened

01:16  03 december  2019
01:16  03 december  2019 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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A report from Australia's Great Barrier Reef management agencies to UNESCO says it is critical to keep atmospheric temperature increases to below Coral bleaching, a series of cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish have worsened the " outstanding universal values " of the Great Barrier Reef , a

Unesco ’s world heritage committee will decide in June whether to list the reef as “in danger.” The Nature Climate Change report notes that more than half of the 41 outstanding universal values Day said that while ports could continue to operate next to the reef , all development needed to occur at a

a man that is standing in the grass: Coral bleaching near Heron Island in February 2016. A report prepared for UNESCO says global warming, which causes coral bleaching, is the reef's biggest threat.© XL Catlin Seaview Survey Coral bleaching near Heron Island in February 2016. A report prepared for UNESCO says global warming, which causes coral bleaching, is the reef's biggest threat.

Coral bleaching, a series of cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish have worsened the "outstanding universal values" of the Great Barrier Reef, a federal government report prepared for UNESCO has found.

The 348,000-square-kilometre reef off the Queensland coast has been a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site since 1981.

It is a multibillion-dollar tourism drawcard that generates about 64,000 jobs in tourism and tourism-related industries.

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This draft chapter for a Unesco report on the Great Barrier Reef warned that it was ‘poor and deteriorating’ and ‘assailed by multiple threats’ but Concern has continued to grow that … [the reef 's] biodiversity and natural beauty may lose its World Heritage values . Spurred by the direct evidence of

Report to Unesco by the federal and Queensland governments says key features have deteriorated since reef was listed in 1981.

In 2020, UNESCO will decide if the decline in those "outstanding universal values" warrants listing the site as "in danger", meaning it could lose its status.

On Monday, the federal government's State Party Report to UNESCO's world heritage committee made three significant findings on Australia's progress since 2015 to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

First, it found mass coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, six tropical cyclones, flooding and a coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak had "impacted the outstanding universal values" of the reef.

a man swimming in a body of water: The Great Barrier Reef's Marine Park Authority climate change scientists inspect the reef near Lizard Island.© Sandy Scheltema The Great Barrier Reef's Marine Park Authority climate change scientists inspect the reef near Lizard Island.

Second, it reported the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority had found the long-term outlook for the reef’s ecosystem had "deteriorated from poor to very poor", as previously reported.

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It also found climate change, especially the rise in sea temperature, remained the most serious and pervasive threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

The report traced policy initiatives under the federal government's Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and acknowledged it was crucial to keep atmospheric temperature increases to 1.5 degrees.

"Concerted global action to limit global warming is needed to turn around the deteriorating outlook for the Great Barrier Reef – and all other coral reefs," the report said.

"We are actively managing the pressures over which we have direct control through investment and regulation based on the best available science."

The report met with a muted response from the Greens and conservation groups.

Greens deputy leader Larissa Waters described the report as "an exercise in spin" and said not enough action was being taken in Australia to reduce climate change.

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The Great Barrier Reef , the largest coral reef system on earth, was struck in 2016 and 2017 by massive die-offs of coral — caused by If climate change is not curtailed, that timetable will continue to speed up, the report said . It warned that the Great Barrier Reef in particular could experience mass

Member States United Nations System Intergovernmental Organizations Non-Governmental Organizations Private Sector UNESCO Communities. The report further concludes that the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is “poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further

“The World Heritage Committee gave Australia homework four years ago, to show why the reef shouldn’t be listed as 'in danger'," she said.

“In that time, half the coral cover of the reef has bleached to death and its outlook has been downgraded to 'very poor', while the federal government has refused to address climate change and has questioned reef water science. They have failed their homework."

Australian Marine Conservation Society director of strategy Imogen Zethoven said Australia needed to encourage other nations to reduce emissions to mitigate atmospheric temperature increases.

"It is in Australia’s interest to play a leading role in getting the world to act, and the only way it can do that is by acting at home while urging other countries to follow our example," Ms Zethoven said.

"The report states that 1.5 degrees is widely cited as a critical threshold for the reef, but it doesn’t commit Australia to do our fair share of global emissions reduction to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade."

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