Great Barrier Reef is in danger – UNESCO

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef is in danger due to the threat posed by climate change.

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The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef is in danger due to the threat posed by climate change.

As per UNESCO’s report, the reef must be listed in World Heritage Sites and must be protected by every means. The UN body has asked to add the coral reef to the list by next month. However, the Australian government has strongly opposed the move. 

The latest row is part of an ongoing dispute between Unesco and the Australian government over the status of the iconic site.

The reef, stretching for 2,300km (1,400 miles) off Australia’s north-east coast, gained World Heritage ranking in 1981 for its “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance”. After Unesco first debated its “in danger” status in 2017, Canberra committed more than A$3 billion (£; $2.2bn) to improve the reef’s health. Several coral reefs have been exploited and damaged due to bleaching all around the world.

Scientists say the main reason is rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels. They have also blamed Australia’s reluctance to take quick action.

“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,” said Environment Minister Sussan Ley. Despite UNESCO’s report, the criteria for clean water have not been met as of yet. 

Scott’s government has been blamed for all the inaction against degrading climate conditions. However, not much has been done so far. Australia’s Climate Council said the UN decision “disgraces the federal government, which is standing by as the reef declines rather than fighting to protect it”.