The endangered Great Barrier Reef is not in danger, says UNESCO

From Engadget - July 10, 2017

The Great Barrier Reef is a wonder of the natural world, and is pegged to benefit Australia's economy to the tune of $56 billion. If it was added to the danger list, the country would be forced to take drastic action to protect it, which could threaten its short-term profitability. Not to mention that Australia is building a $4 billion coal mine which will ship tonnes of climate change-causing material through the Reef itself. Building the mine, and cutting a shipping canal through the reed to support it, is likely to cause extraordinary harm to the local ecosystem.

As Reuters explains, UNESCO's decision prevents "political embarrassment and potential damage to the country's lucrative tourism industry." It also serves as an endorsement of Australia's current plan to maintain the Reef's ecosystem through its own, lighter-touch methods. UNESCO did, however, say that it held some concerns about the health of the Reef, urging the country to improve water quality in the surrounding area. Although, given that climate change is the biggest factor as to its current condition, backing a coal project next door will seem like adding insult to injury.


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