TravelGuides – Great Barrier Reef: leading scientists praise Unesco’s ‘in danger’ warning | Great Barrier Reef


JourneyGuides – Great Barrier Reef: leading scientists praise Unesco’s ‘in danger’ warning | Great Barrier Reef

Five of the world’s leading reef and local weather scientists have thanked Unesco for recommending the Great Barrier Reef be listed as world heritage “in danger”, saying it was the suitable determination partly as a result of Australia had not “pulled its weight” in decreasing emissions.

The group of scientists, together with the Australian professors Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Terry Hughes, wrote to the UN physique on Thursday saying the advice to downgrade the two,300-km reef system’s world heritage standing was “the right decision”.

The Morrison authorities has accused Unesco of “blindsiding” it and indicated it will undertake a lobbying marketing campaign earlier than the 21-member world heritage committee considers the advice at a gathering in China beginning on 16 July.


Unesco has denied it misled the Australian authorities earlier than the advice was made public.

The scientists mentioned the physique had proven management in recognising the specter of local weather change to the reef’s world heritage properties.

“Tragically, the reef has suffered extensive losses in recent years through three severe coral bleaching events, fuelled by global heating,” they wrote.


“Safeguarding the reef requires effective global action to reduce carbon emissions. Yet Australia has so far not pulled its weight in this global effort.

“We therefore greatly appreciate Unesco’s draft recommendation for Australia to urgently address the threat of climate change and welcome the draft report’s recognition that 1.5C [of global heating] is widely recognised as a critical threshold.”

The scientists mentioned they acknowledged the Australian and Queensland governments had made efforts to deal with native threats to the reef, together with sediment and nutrient air pollution at inshore coral reefs, however Unesco was appropriate to notice “with the utmost concern” that water high quality targets within the governments’ 2050 plan had not been met.

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful, biodiverse and precious places on Earth. We stand ready to help support Unesco’s efforts to secure the future of this global icon,” they wrote.

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Other signatories to the letter are Prof Andréa Grottoli, president of the International Coral Reef Society, Prof Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Dr Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and chair of Mission Blue, which goals to realize 30% safety of oceans by 2030.

In an opinion piece within the Australian on Wednesday, the federal surroundings minister, Sussan Ley, mentioned she was shocked by the draft suggestion by Unesco’s world heritage committee reef, and repeated her suggestion the method had been politicised.

She mentioned an “in danger” itemizing was in impact asking a rustic to alter or speed up the development of its administration of a world heritage website.

“Are the [Unesco] advisers seriously suggesting Australia can single-handedly change the emissions trajectory of the whole world?” she wrote.

“Unesco representatives admit they want to sound an international warning note about the dire fate that awaits all countries if global warming is not halted. Australia shouldn’t be the poster child of a wider agenda.”

She mentioned the World Heritage Centre had suggested officers in May that none of Australia’s world heritage websites could be thought of for “in danger” itemizing this 12 months, and famous 11 different nations had joined it in writing to Unesco to precise concern about “a broader lack of transparency and proper process”.

Unesco leaders have denied Australia was given an assurance the reef wouldn’t be thought of in peril, or that the advice had been politicised. Dr Mechtild Rössler, director of the World Heritage Centre, final week advised reporters that many governments misunderstood the “in danger” listing.

“It is not a red list that ends up with less tourism, but it is really a call for action and that is the fundamental idea,” she mentioned. The complete world must know there’s a website that’s underneath risk and all of us have an obligation to protect [it] for generations to come back.”

The letter from 12 nations has been interpreted by one former Australian world heritage official as the start of Australia’s promised lobbying effort to struggle Unesco’s suggestion.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, final week described Unesco’s course of as “appalling” and mentioned Australia had been “talking to our friends”.

Hoegh-Guldberg and Hughes, each from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, mentioned in a press release an “in danger” itemizing would focus consideration on the right way to additional restrict injury to the reef.

“It presents a challenge to all nations to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Hughes mentioned.

A Unesco spokesperson mentioned it welcomed the letter “from these distinguished and internationally renowned scientists”. They mentioned it confirmed the technical evaluation offered in its report.

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