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Politics The Great Barrier Reef actually is "in danger"

07:00  28 november  2021
07:00  28 november  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Attal defends Darmanin and Castex after a video showing them without mask or gestures Barrier

 Attal defends Darmanin and Castex after a video showing them without mask or gestures Barrier Gabriel Attal defended Wednesday Jean Castex and Gérald Darmanin after the broadcast of a video showing them tightening hands, without mask, during an official event. © Reuters / Stephane MAHE / File Photo The Government spokesman Gabriel Attal Wednesday defended Prime Minister Jean Castex and the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, criticized following a video turned on Tuesday night Showing tightening hands, without mask, disregard barrier gestures.

The Great Barrier Reef is famous around the world for its outstanding beauty and biodiversity and was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Area in 1981. The size of 70 million football fields, the reef stretches along the coast of the State of Queensland for 1,400 miles, the equivalent distance from It supports a vibrant tourism industry, worth billion each year, that employs 65,000 people. But, like coral reefs almost everywhere, large swaths of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef are , in fact, in decline. The Australian government’s latest five-year report card on the status of the Great Barrier

The Great Barrier Reef has not been added to the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites that are " in danger ", following strong lobbying from Australia. A report from Unesco, the UN's scientific and cultural body, had said that not enough was being done to protect the reef from climate change or to meet The Great Barrier Reef has been World Heritage-listed for 40 years due to its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance". Stretching over 2,300km (1,400 miles) off Australia's north-east coast, it is actually made up of about 3,000 individual reefs . It is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the

In a triumph of politics over science, this week Australia has again avoided an "in-danger" listing for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, despite its continued decline.

a body of water: The Great Barrier Reef actually is © Getty Images The Great Barrier Reef actually is "in danger"

Australia reacted angrily to the draft decision by UNESCO in late June to downgrade the status of the Reef, which was described by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as "appalling." In response, Australia immediately launched an aggressive diplomatic offensive that persuaded the 21-country World Heritage Committee this week to reject UNESCO's science-based advice. But the reprieve may be short-lived - the committee will assess Australia's progress again next year.

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Anyone in the Cairns tourism industry who might be feeling a sense of panic about the largest destruction of coral on the Great Barrier Reef since divers first strapped on snorkels is not letting it show. The north-eastern Australian city – a global holiday destination where the natural wonder’s name festoons However, chief executive Alex de Waal says this “extraordinary” spike would have been even bigger had it not coincided with global publicity about the deteriorating state of the reef . The reef has been in the media as never before over the past year because the coral is in mortal danger .

The United Nations has recommended that the Great Barrier Reef be placed on a list of World Heritage sites that are “ in danger ,” prompting a fierce reaction from the Australian government, which defended its management of one of the country’s top tourist destinations. The recommendation, made in a report released on Monday by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, describes the long-term outlook for the natural wonder as having “deteriorated from poor to very poor” in the past several years. “There is no possible doubt that the property is facing ascertained danger,” the report

The committee this week also approved a draft climate policy which clearly states for the first time that climate-related degradation of a World Heritage Area can be used as the basis for in-danger listing. The new policy will be ratified at the UNESCO General Assembly later this year. In the meantime, Australia argued successfully that climate change is a global problem, which should not be applied to Australia's stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is famous around the world for its outstanding beauty and biodiversity and was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Area in 1981. The size of 70 million football fields, the reef stretches along the coast of the State of Queensland for 1,400 miles, the equivalent distance from Canada to Mexico. It supports a vibrant tourism industry, worth $4 billion each year, that employs 65,000 people.

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There are tens of billions of corals on the Great Barrier Reef that knit together to form a giant mass that is most certainly, definitely, no doubt about it, in danger . Nobody at the world heritage committee late on Friday night thought otherwise. And yet, the 21-country committee was not willing to put the reef on its “ in danger ” list after a fierce global lobbying effort by Australia. So what on earth is going on here? And what does this most blinding of contradictions mean for Australia as the custodian of the world’s biggest coral reef system?

But wait, they actually are saving the reef . If they can bribe I mean convince enough nations to agree that it's not really in danger then technically the reef has been saved. if you need any more convincing I have a colour coded spreadsheet here (and several million dollars) that will explain it for you. If I get this right, the Coalition believes this stopping the ' in danger ' listing of the great barrier reef is such a pressing issue that it warrants having a minister go on an 8 day lobbying trip across Europe and Asia, yet securing vaccines is so unimportant that it's not worth giving one person a phone call.


Video: Great Barrier Reef 'at risk' (The Independent)

But, like coral reefs almost everywhere, large swaths of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef are, in fact, in decline. The Australian government's latest five-year report card on the status of the Great Barrier Reef acknowledged in 2019 that the outlook is very poor and deteriorating. The reef is endangered and struggling to cope with the cumulative impacts of water pollution from agriculture, coastal development, dredging, shipping and especially climate change. Ambitious plans to further develop and export coal and fossil gas across the reef from the adjoining catchment of the World Heritage Area, if they come to fruition, will only cause further damage.

Bowing to earlier pressure from UNESCO, in 2015 Australia developed a new blueprint to stave off an in-danger listing by improving the condition of the Great Barrier Reef - the Reef 2050 Plan. However, the plan has been widely criticized for ignoring Australia's contribution to climate change. While it includes ambitious targets for reducing runoff of pollution from land, the plan is underfunded and, after 5 years of operation, is failing to reach most of its targets.

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China said the Great Barrier Reef is in danger for political reasons so this is all Fake! Because China BAD! In 2015, lobbying by then-environment minister Greg Hunt escaped a push to have the reef added to the list. But UNESCO called on Australia to demonstrate it was addressing the key threats, including climate change and water quality. After that, the reef was hit with an unprecedented three mass bleaching events in five years, driven by climate change and water quality targets that were not met[.]"

Government agency the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority confirmed in April that the reef had suffered a third mass bleaching event in five years due to increased water temperatures. Noni Austin, a lawyer with Earthjustice’s international program, said Australia was failing to protect the reef from Scott Heron, an associate professor in physics at James Cook University, backed the facts set out in the legal groups’ report and agreed the committee needed an effective policy to deal with the impact of climate change on heritage sites. But he said the in - danger list was developed to respond to local

Australia clearly views an in-danger listing by UNESCO as an undesirable sanction, which it argues would damage reef tourism. But the purpose of the in-danger list is to highlight World Heritage properties that are in trouble, identify the causes of their decline and address them. Currently, 53 World Heritage properties are on the list. The Galapagos Island and Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System have both gone on, and off, the in-danger list, with no apparent impact on international tourism.

Australia's recent record on tackling climate change is poor. It is the only country in the world to have legislated and then repealed a carbon pricing mechanism, and Australia has no meaningful policies in place to electrify transport. Australia also has one of the highest levels of per-capita emissions of greenhouse gases in the world, with domestic emissions higher than the UK, France or Italy. On top of its domestic pollution, Australia is the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Russia. In the lead-up to the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Australia has not committed yet to net-zero emissions by 2050 and has not increased its comparatively weak Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement since 2015.

So far, Australia has not acknowledged the obvious link between its responsibilities for managing the Great Barrier Reef for future generations, and the damage caused by its ongoing promotion of fossil fuels. Australia can, and must, do better.

Terry Hughes is a distinguished professor at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. His research focuses on reef ecology and climate change Follow him on Twitter: @ProfTerryHughes.

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