Great Barrier Reef should be listed as ‘in danger’, Unesco says

Great Barrier Reef should be listed as 'in danger', Unesco says
The Great Barrier Reef has held World Heritage status since 1981. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The UN’s cultural body Unesco says the Great Barrier Reef should be put on a list of World Heritage Sites that are “in danger” over harm caused by climate change.

Unesco says the world’s biggest coral reef system should be downgraded to the list at a meeting next month.

The organization is urging Australia to take “accelerated action” on global warming, but the Australian government said it would “strongly oppose” the recommendation.

The latest row is part of an ongoing dispute between the Australian government and Unesco over the status of the reef, which gained World Heritage ranking in 1981. Unesco had debated whether the Great Barrier Reef go on the in danger list in 2017.

Sussan Ley, Australian Environment Minister said the government had been “stunned” by the latest announcement, calling it a “backflip on previous assurances from UN officials” that the step would not be taken.

According to scientists, rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels are the main reason the reef has been severely damaged.

In the past five years, there have been several “bleaching” events on the reef.

According to Unesco report, despite efforts by the Australian government, key targets on improving water quality in the reef had not been met.

If the Unesco recommendation is followed, it would be the first time a natural World Heritage Site has been placed on the “in danger” list mostly because of climate change impacts.

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