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Australia blocks UNESCO from ruling the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” from climate change

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Australia now has enough global support to avoid UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” World Heritage Site until at least 2023

In June, the 12 countries in UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted for a draft ruling that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger of losing its World Heritage status due to the impacts of climate change.

Since then, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been busy lobbying Europe. During her tour, she visited eight countries in a bid to gain support to reject the danger listing.

The Australian government successfully garnered support from 12 other countries to delay the decision until 2023. This is enough for a clear majority.

The countries include Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mali, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, and Uganda.

Ley’s defence is the original process was politicised and didn’t follow due process including a site visit. She also alleges that UNESCO “unfairly targeted” Australia over its climate policy.

“If it is being proposed on the basis of the very real threat of global climate change, then there are any number of international World Heritage Sites that should be subject to the same process,” Ley said.

“I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world’s reefs. But it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best-managed reef in the world for an ‘in danger’ listing.”

“The question is why does the Australian government need two years to report back to the Committee if it accepts urgent action is needed?”

Coral experts in Australia have largely praised UNESCO’s suggestion to list the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’. Global warming poses an immanent threat to the reef’s survival.

One climate change expert Scott Hamilton believes the Australian Federal Government isn’t doing enough to protect the reef.

“It’s time the Australian Federal Government started fighting the causes of the disease when it comes to climate change, rather than dealing with the symptoms.”

“If the Australian Federal Government spent as much effort tackling climate as it does fighting the UNESCO World Heritage body, we might actually stop destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.”

If passed, the amendment would give Australia until December 2022 to submit its case for the health of the reef. The Committee would then consider the proposal at it annual session in 2023. This typically happens in the middle of the year.

If UNESO decides to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef to ‘in danger’, it could mean trouble for Australia’s federal government. The country is due for a federal election June next year. There are also concerns that the decision could hurt international tourism.

The reef is a major income source for Central Queensland, raking in over $6 billion every day. The Great Barrier reef also supports approximately 60,000 jobs.

WWFA’s head of oceans, Richard Leck, rejected Australia’s proposed amendment.

He said, “it doesn’t change UNESCO’s technical and scientific advice recommending urgent action on climate change and water pollution”.

One report found that if the earth warms by 2 degrees, it will mean certain destruction for 99% of the reef. Three major bleaching events since 2016 have also posed a huge risk to the reef.

Although most developed countries are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 or earlier, Australia is yet to set a deadline to reach net zero emissions.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Terry

    July 22, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    As usual the federal government has in mind the big petrol companies and coal mining giants and not the environment…
    They play the delaying game and throw a bit of China threat in the recipe…
    I do hope that the Aussies we do not forget these games next year…

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Business

Airline resumes flights to Russia, despite war

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Wizz Abu Dhabi will resume flights to Russia from October 3, despite global warnings

Wizz Abu Dhabi has confirmed it will resumes its flights to Russia from October 3, despite the war in Ukraine.

The budget airline says ‘passenger demand’ is the main reason behind putting Russia back on their destination list.

“Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a national UAE carrier that operates in line with the UAE’s national regulations and policies…

The airline is resuming its operation to Moscow to meet travel demand for passengers wishing to fly to and from Russia from the UAE capital…

All UAE national airlines are currently operating direct flights to Russia...

Wizz Air Hungary and Wizz Air UK are not currently operating flights to Russia.”

wizz air statement

As the war in Ukraine moves into its sixth month, countries around the world continue to condemn Russia’s atrocities.

Immediately following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, international businesses boycotted the country and world leaders economically isolated them from the global stage.

Most sanctions against Russia are still in place and will remain that way until Russia ceases its war in Ukraine.

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Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky’s hometown in Russian crosshairs

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Ukraine said on Wednesday that Russia might be building a strike force to target Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s hometown

Ukraine has warned that Moscow could be preparing new offensive operations in southern Ukraine.

Russia occupies broad stretches of Ukrainian territory in the south of the country,

Much of which Russia captured early on in the war after it launched its February 24 invasion.

Ukraine has also said that Russia has begun to assemble a military strike force – and may be aiming for Kryvyi Rih – the hometown of the Ukrainian president.

“It’s also quite likely that the enemy is preparing a hostile counter-offensive with the subsequent plan of getting to the administrative boundary of Kherson region”

Ukraine southern military command

However, Ukraine has also said it was to mount a counter-offensive to regions of Ukraine that Russia currently holds.

Kryvyi Rih is a steel-producing town around 50km (30 miles) from the southern frontline of the war.

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Ukraine Crisis

Grain vessel allowed to leave Ukraine waters

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A cargo vessel carrying grain for export has been permitted to leave Ukrainian waters via the Black Sea in a rare Russia-Ukraine agreement

The vessel, named “Razoni” under a Sierra-Leone registration left the port of Odesa bound for Lebanon, carrying 26,000 tonnes of grain on board.

It’s the first cargo vessel that’s been permitted to carry cargo on the Black Sea following an export agreement between Ukraine and Russia that was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554029512832307200?s=20&t=iALr8zm-jSYBYsjOC_TjNw

Russia and Ukraine account for a third of the world’s global wheat supply between them.

But Russian blockades of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast as well as the ongoing war have meant exports have plummeted – leading many nations to worry over interrupted food supplies.

Crew aboard the vessel spoke of their concerns about sea mines.


“To be honest, I am scared from the fact that there are naval mines. This is the only thing that I fear during this trip, as for the other things, we are used to them as sailors.”

Abdullah jendi, junior engineer aboard razoni

But they also spoke of their joy at being allowed to sail through.
Junior engineer Abdullah Jendi said it was a great feeling.

“Everyone on the ship was very happy,” he said. “I can say that it was the best feeling we have had in 2022.”

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