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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.

Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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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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When will Australia’s PM commit to net-zero?

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with US President Biden standing with coal

COP-26 climate summit is just days away, but Australia’s PM Scott Morrison is yet to cement the nation’s net-zero targets

A decision expected by the week’s end

Morrison says there are still a lot of things to work through and the impacts of the world’s response to climate change will inevitably have an impact on regional and rural Australians.

Morrison promises residents can trust his government to “do the right thing” and do what it needs to do to achieve the desired climate change response whilst also protecting jobs and people’s livelihoods.

The PM is committed to embracing new technologies to move towards a more sustainable economy, keeping industries forging ahead.

We spoke to Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young earlier today and asked what she expects the federal government’s net-zero plan will be.

Meanwhile, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the world is in a climate catastrophe and we need to act.

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Climate

Leaders convene for the ‘Global Race To Zero Summit’ | ticker VIEWS

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As the global climate conversation heats up, leader’s prepare to convene in a month of historical talks

On Ticker News this week, Holly Stearnes and Scott Hamilton spoke with the Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council, John Grimes. We delve into the Global Race To Zero Summit on 20-21 October.

The virtual summit will host thirty climate action leaders from around the world, giving all global perspectives. 

Climate change conversation

Global warming and climate change has been an ongoing conversation for world leaders for decades. However, it’s not until now that the conversation has reached a boiling point.

The climate scientists have said there is no more time, no more political debates, serious action needs to be taken now.

In Australia, Former Prime Minister John Howard committed Australia to put a trading emissions trading scheme.

 ‘Stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will be difficult, but not impossible. We do not have to sacrifice our economic prosperity to tackle the problem.”

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard

“I will also be announcing a ‘cap and trade emissions trading system that will help Australia substantially lower our domestic greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost.” 

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard

“Sadly, Australia and leaders around the world failed to heed these warnings. Global greenhouse emissions have continued to sky-rocket and we are now experiencing the existential threat of dangerous climate change.”

– Scott Hamilton, Ticker CLIMATE

However, as long as the climate debate has continued, there are always two sides to the argument. The things that are most damaging to our planet, also financially and economically support thousands of people and livelihoods.

Climate Wars

As the COP-26 climate event approaches at a rapid pace, Australian lawmakers are struggling to reach an agreement over net-zero targets. The Nationals have continued to withhold their support for a net-zero plan.

As the world transitions away from coal, Australia seems reluctant to consider a future without it. Country coal towns and the Australian economy rely heavily on the coal industry. However, it is crucial that Australia now paves its way in a new direction.

The coal industry gives thousands of Australians jobs, but when the rest of the world moves away from coal, Australia’s exporting opportunities will no longer be there.

That’s why it’s essential to create a plan, so people are not left in dead-end industries and we’re in line with the rest of the world in tackling climate change.

John Grimes is the Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council, the independent, not-for-profit body for the Australian smart energy industry thinks the Morrison will be dragged “kicking and screaming” to committing to net-zero target by 2050 at the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow.

“That’s [net-zero by 2050] is the bare minimum.”

– John Grimes, CEO, Smart Energy Council

https://twitter.com/TurnbullMalcolm/status/1449216364242112516

Global Race To Zero Summit

This will be one of the biggest virtual climate events in 2021.

The Summit will explore the opportunities that emerge from taking action on climate change and provide a clear pathway forward for governments, citizens, and companies.

Taking place just 10 days before the G20 meeting in Rome, on 30-31 of October, and in the lead up to the critical COP26 meeting in Glasgow from 31 October–12 November, this event will be instrumental in influencing ambitious global action.

Insert video promo: Global Race to Zero Summit – We Demand Change

Register here for free: https://t.co/3X4J0UdMag

https://twitter.com/StarScientific_/status/1448517960096628739

https://twitter.com/SDHamiltonVIC/status/1449547035288358914

 

Watch the full episode here: https://tickeroriginals.co/2021/10/18/the-race-to-zero/

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend first Earthshot Prize awards

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among a number of high-profile individuals who attended the very first Earth shot Prize awards ceremony

Started by Prince William, the idea behind the event is to celebrate those who are trying to save the planet from global warming.

There will be five winners in total, with each person receiving a grant of 1-million-pounds.

Other stars including Emma Watson, Emma Thompson and Mo Salah are handing out awards.

Meanwhile, celebrities were asked to refrain from flying from the event, and guests were asked to “consider the environment” when choosing an outfit.

The Earthshot prize is a nod to the “Moonshot” ambition of America, whereby John F Kennedy wanted to send a man to the moon within a decade.

Climate activist, Sir David Attenborough is also a council member for Earthshot and gave his remarks

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