Focus: Great Barrier Reef “Crisis” Accreditation, Pressure on Australia to Strengthen Countermeasures | Reuters

[Thomson Reef Foundation on the 23rd]–Environmental activists and researchers said on the 23rd that the United Nations warned about the threat of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s iconic coral reef. He pointed out that measures need to be taken to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create an eco-friendly economy.

Environmental protection activists and researchers have launched more drastic climate change measures on the 23rd in response to the UN’s warning about the threat approaching Australia’s iconic coral reef “Great Barrier Reef”, and greenhouse gases He pointed out the need to further reduce greenhouse emissions and create an eco-friendly economy. The photo was taken at the Great Barrier Reef in June 2015 (2021 Reuters / David Gray)

This week, the UN Panel recommends that the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest and most spectacular coral reef ecosystem off the northeastern coast of Australia, should be listed as a World Heritage in Danger. The Australian government has shown strong opposition.

The final decision on the registration of “Crisis Heritage” is expected to be held at the World Heritage Committee in July.

Climate scientist Professor Will Stephen (Australian National University) said, “Taking this opportunity, the Australian government is far more proactive and energetic to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and significantly. We hope that taking action will be the most important outcome of this recommendation. “

“The pressure on the government is increasing, but I hope they will be forced to take meaningful action on climate change,” Steffen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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The Great Barrier Reef was registered as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1981. But in the last three decades, more than half of the corals have died.

The Great Barrier Reef could be certified as “crisis” in 2015, but at this time, it is concerned that the Australian government’s position as “in crisis” will make it less attractive to attract tourists. , It was avoided by focusing on lobbying.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, severe seawater temperature rises will cause coral bleaching in 2016, 2017, and 2020, further impairing the health of coral reefs, and the animals, birds, and oceans that grow there. Affected the population.

The UNESCO Commission says action is needed to address the effects of climate change as the prospects for maintaining the status of the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site are bleak.

Australian Environment Minister Susan Lay said the government would challenge the recommendation, saying the recommendation was based on “a (…) problematic approach without sufficient consultation.”

“We agree that global climate change alone is the greatest threat to the world’s coral reefs, but the world’s best-managed coral reefs are listed as World Heritage in Danger,” the Environment Minister said in a statement. Being a candidate is wrong from our point of view. “

Joe Fontaine, a lecturer in environmental science at Murdoch University, describes the UNESCO move as a “decisive moment.” This is because it usually puts external pressure on Australian politicians who are busy with inner circles.

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“We sincerely hope that federal-level climate change measures will be changed in unison and that the federal and Queensland Governments will work together to address water quality issues,” he said.

International calls for Australia to strengthen its climate change measures are growing, and UNESCO’s warnings support this. According to Richard Wreck, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Australia’s maritime sector, the government’s climate change measures are lax, with no firm “net-zero” target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. It is said that it has been criticized.

“This recommendation is (…) in line with the general climate of the international community, which has begun to criticize Australia’s delay in combating climate change,” Lek said. He mentioned comments from the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom and the summit of the seven major countries (G7).

As the shock of UNESCO’s recommendations diminishes, the Australian government is expected to take these moves science-based and take action seriously, he said.

Environmental groups and researchers are urging Australia to set “carbon-neutral” goals and implement policies in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb global warming.

“Australia needs to take reasonable responsibility to meet its vitally important goal for coral reefs to keep global temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Imogen Zetoben, a consultant to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Said.

“It is very important to link climate change measures to the long-term viability of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Australia relies on coal-fired power generation, and its per capita carbon dioxide emissions are among the highest in the world.

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According to an analysis by researchers of the non-profit consortium Climate Action Tracker, Australia’s current climate change measures are “insufficient.”

Professor Leslie Hughes (Macquarie University, Biology), a scientist who participates in the Australian Climate Council, said the government is responsible for maintaining “one of the most valuable and iconic ecosystems in the world.” Pointed out.

“But the government continues to support fossil fuels and has not taken effective climate change measures, which means it has failed altogether in fulfilling its responsibilities,” he said.

“Australia remains stationary while the world is moving forward. The international community will soon run out of numbness.”

However, environmentalists say that due to domestic political risks, it is unlikely that the Australian government will act swiftly on the recommendation of UNESCO, but changes can be expected in the medium to long term.

They called on the government to ban the development of new fossil fuel resources and abandon recovery plans from the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), which relied on natural gas-fired power generation, and renewable energy and electricity. We are seeking to promote investment and utilization in automobiles.

“Australia’s adoption of renewable energy in the future is inevitable, which means that in the future it will be much more serious about climate change than it is now,” said Lek.

(Translation: Acrelen)

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