The Great Barrier Reef must be put on the list as the World Heritage Sites which are in danger. The danger is imposing due to the damage of climate change, as UNESCO thinks.
The cultural body of the UN has said that this world’s biggest Coral reef system needs to be downgraded to the list. It has also urged Australia to take effective actions on global warming. But the Australian Government has said that it would strongly oppose this recommendation.
The latest row now has a part in the ongoing dispute between the Australian Government and UNESCO. The reef is stretching up to 1400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia. It gained the ranking as a World Heritage in 1981.
UNESCO first debated it as it is “in danger” in 2017. Canberra has committed more than A$3 billion to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
However, many of the bleaching events that took place in the reef in the past five years have caused the widespread loss of the coral. Scientists are marking the main reason as the rising of the sea temperature due to global warming.
However, Australia is remaining reluctant to commit any stronger climate actions. It is one of the OECD outliers which are still resisting the pressure to sign up for a net-zero emission target. This country is the largest exporter of coal and gas. Also, it has not updated its climate goals since 2015. The current emission target is 26-28% of 2005 levels in 2030.
Environmental groups are saying that the decision of the UN is highlighting the weak climate action of Australia.
The recommendation from UNESCO is very clear and unequivocal. The Australian Government is not doing enough to protect its natural assets due to climate change.
But Canberra has said that it had been “stunned” with the decision. It is calling the decision a backflip on the previous assurances that came from UN officials.
The Environment Minister Sussan Ley said, “Climate change is the single biggest threat to all of the world’s reef ecosystems… and there are 83 natural World Heritage properties facing climate change threats, so it’s not fair to simply single out Australia.”
Australia believed it is completely wrong to single out the best-managed reef to put it in the “in danger” listing. But UNESCO has the key target to improve the water quality of the reef, which had not been met yet.
The international pressure is still mounting on the Government to pledge the net-zero emission target by 2059. The PM of Australia has, from time to time, refused to commit it. Australia’s Climate Council thinks that UN decisions are bringing shame to the Federal Government.