Whitsunday Conservation Council

Reef In Danger

Thank you Greenpeace for photo

The draft decision to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” has caused much shock and consternation, even indignation here in Australia, particularly amongst our politicians.

The Murdoch media was full of words like “blindsided”, “politically influenced” and “Chinese involvement”. 

The subsequent decision by UNESCO to delay the decision until after the next federal election is appalling.

Millions spent to lobby for the delay and billions spent to continue subsidising fossil fuels that kill millions of people every year.

Is this not a crime against humanity?


The response from Canberra was not surprising. But what was surprising as well as disappointing, was the response from GBRMPA, as noted through the numerous media interviews with the CEO of GBRMPA.

23-7-21  UNESCO Delays Decision to List Great Barrier Reef In Danger

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has delayed a proposal for the Great Barrier Reef to be listed as “in danger” of being removed from the list of World Heritage sites.

UNESCO cited two major threats to the World Heritage status of the reef – climate change, which has spurred three mass coral bleaching events since 2016, and water pollution from runoff out of agricultural and urban areas.

However, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley spearheaded a whirlwind campaign to delay a vote on the reef’s status, including a European tour, while ambassadors of more than a dozen countries were flown to the reef to see healthy corals.

WCC is disappointed that UNESCO has delayed the decision. In 2019, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) downgraded the outlook for the Reef from poor to very poor. This was based on the work of Australia’s best reef scientists and managers.

Whether the Government likes it or not, the Reef is, in fact, “in danger” and postponing that decision doesn’t change a thing. Decades of poor water quality has reduced the resilience of the Reef. We are already at 1.2 degrees C of global warming. Over the past 5 years, three mass bleaching events, powered by unprecedented underwater heat waves, has destroyed up to 50% of the Reef’s hard coral cover.”

However, there was some good news. Although UNESCO has delayed the “in danger” decision, they have asked Australia to provide an update on the reef’s health in February next year. Based on this report, UNESCO will reconsider the “in danger” listing in June or July next year. It is also quite likely that UNESCO will send out a team to assess the health of the Reef and what measures Australia is taking to protect the Reef.

The delay could prove to be a good thing for the Reef. The pressure is now on the Federal Government. They have only 6 months to develop a climate policy that will protect the Reef. Approving new coal and gas projects will be a very bad look for a Government claiming to care about the Reef.

Should be an interesting 6 months.

16-7-21  WCC feels that GBRMPA, Australia’s lead agency for managing the Great Barrier Reef, should acknowledge that the Reef is “in danger” and needs help.   READ LETTER

12-7-21  UNESCO, the Reef and China.  The Murdoch press tries to rescue the Federal Government with the usual propaganda, such as Andrew Bolt claiming that it is all a Chinese con.  SEE MEDIA WATCH

2-7-21  Almost 60 coral species around Lizard Island are “missing”.  A Great Barrier Reef extinction crisis could be next.  READ ARTICLE

1-7-21  UNESCO revealed its draft decision to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” — a decision that appeared to shock the Australian government.  READ ARTICLE

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