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The Great Barrier Reef Eludes UNESCO Ranking

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No UNESCO “in danger” listing for the Great Barrier Reef this time, but a scorching El Nino summer season is on the horizon.
Scientists are challenging the decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, notwithstanding substantial scientific data that says it is at risk of undergoing huge bleaching this year.

The group of experts met in Paris and reported that the Australian officials had achieved “substantial progress,” but that climate change and polluting industries still posed “severe threats” to the reef. The committee also stressed the need of “continued effort to execute the key recommendations,” and it requested an update from the administration by February 1st 2024.

However, El Nino, which normally has a warming influence, is expected to arrive in six months, and climate analysts predict this will likely cause the waters to become even hotter.

More than 1,500 species of fish and 411 types of hard corals make their home in the Great Barrier Reef, which spans an area of about 345,000 sq km. It’s worth billions to the Australian economy every year and is aggressively advertised to international visitors as one of the world’s most impressive natural attractions.

Australia’s administrations have been racing to dispel fears of an “in danger” classification from the World Heritage Committee ever since the threat was first raised in 2021.

At the same time, as the globe continues to consume planet-warming fossil fuels, the Great Barrier Reef has experienced major mass bleaching in 2016, 2017, and 2020. The first bleaching incident to occur during El Nino’s counterpart, La Nina, which typically has a cooling impact, cast severe doubt on the future of the nation and its management strategies in 2022.

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The committee said in a draft conclusion released that several critical species’ numbers were growing or remaining steady since the previous bleaching episode, indicating that the reef had made “some recovery.”

The panellists expressed “appreciation” for the state’s recent efforts, but they also called for “stronger government pledges to decrease carbon emissions” and “further improvement of water quality” as part of the Reef 2050 Plan. However, experts warned that the reef’s prospects are not expected to improve until the government issues another status statement on February 1.

Moreover, next summer, after the analysis is finished, there would be another huge bleaching incident when El Nino conditions rise again, making the government’s recent licensing of new fossil fuel projects at odds with its declared attempts to safeguard the reef.

Source: Breaking Travel News

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