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Latest News: Pressure Increases on UNESCO to Put Great Barrier Reef "in Danger" List

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

According to a report by The Guardian, environmental law groups in the US and Australia are pushing UNESCO to place the world heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef in the danger list. 

The law groups state that not a single country can solve the climate crisis, but Australia is not playing its part as it does not support policies consistent with keeping global heating to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Earlier in 2017, campaigners in Australia had already proposed UNESCO to put the Great Barrier Reef in the "List of World Heritage in Danger." However, the World Heritage Committee opted not to include it. 

UNESCO's "List of World Heritage in Danger" has 55 entries, which include natural wonders and man-made sites. Jerusalem's Old City was added in 1982, and Aleppo, the Syrian city bombarded by airstrikes was put in the list in 2013. 

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia suffered extensive coral bleaching in March, with scientists fearing the coral recovers less each time after the third bleaching in five years. According to a report by Reuters, February 2020 was the hottest month on record since records began in 1900. 

Australia pressures UNESCO over the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. The globe has warmed about one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution. 

The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction. 

As the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef is a globally outstanding and significant entity. Practically the entire ecosystem was engraved as World Heritage in 1981, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres. The Great Barrier Reef includes extensive cross-shelf diversity, stretching from the low water mark along the mainland coast up to 250 kilometres offshore. This wide depth range includes vast shallow inshore areas, mid-shelf and outer reefs, and beyond the continental shelf to oceanic waters over 2,000 metres deep. 

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