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UNESCO Warns Australian Government’s Failure On Climate Means Great Barrier Reef Is ‘World Heritage In Danger’



SYDNEY, June 22 2021 – The Australian
Government’s support for the fossil fuel industry and lack
of a credible climate policy has caused UNESCO to recommend
the Great Barrier Reef be listed among World Heritage sites
in danger, according to a new report. [1]

The UNESCO
report published overnight warns that “progress has been
insufficient in meeting key targets of the Reef 2050 Plan”
and that “the Plan requires stronger and clearer
commitments, in particular towards urgently countering the
effects of climate change”.

Greenpeace Australia
Pacific CEO David Ritter said “Australian politicians are
finding that they cannot hide from the truth
forever.”

“For too long, a succession of
Australian prime ministers have hidden behind the big lie
that you can protect the Great Barrier Reef without rapidly
reducing greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and
gas,” he said.

“Just a week after Prime Minister
Morrison faced the disapproval of the world’s leaders for
his poor climate performance at the G7 conference, we are
seeing the terrible consequences of Australia’s failure to
reduce emissions – and the Reef is paying the
price.

“The Australian government promised the world
under the UNESCO treaty that it would do its ‘utmost’ to
protect and preserve our magnificent Great Barrier Reef. Our
politicians have not only failed to do this, by having no
credible plan to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions but
have denied and tried to hide their failure at every
turn.

“For Australia’s Prime Minister Scott
Morrison to keep his promise to the world and give the Great
Barrier Reef a fighting chance, we need a credible national
plan to cut emissions by 75 percent this decade”

The
UNESCO report urged the Australian Government to “ fully
incorporate the conclusions of the 2019 GBR Outlook
report” and “provide clear commitments to address
threats from climate change, in conformity with the goals of
the 2015 Paris Agreement”.

The warning comes as
Australia faces increasing international pressure to step up
its inadequate efforts to reduce emissions. At last week’s
G7 summit, leaders of some of the world’s biggest
economies agreed to phase out coal-fired power generation
and end the funding of new coal generation in developing
countries.

The commitment is in line with advice from
the International Energy Agency, which earlier this year
proposed a global pathway to net-zero emissions that called
for developed economies like Australia to end all new coal,
oil and gas projects this year.

Australia is one of
only a handful of countries to fail to commit to net-zero
emissions by 2050 and has currently pledged to reduce
emissions by 26-28 percent by 2030. G7 nations have pledged
to at least halve emissions by 2030 while the UK has gone
much further.

Notes

[1] https://whc.unesco.org/archive/2021/whc21-44com-7B.Add-en.pdf

Read
the Reef 2050 Plan here

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