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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in more danger than you think

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UNESCO is urging Australian authorities to take action and place the Great Barrier Reef on the heritage list of sites that are “in danger”.

If the recommendation is followed, it will be the first time a natural world heritage site has been placed on the list as a result of climate change.

Australia’s environment minister, Susan Lay says she has joined the foreign affairs minister to contact Unesco’s director-general.

Ley says the government will “strongly oppose” the recommendation, describing the suggestion as a “backflip on previous assurances” that this would not happen.

Generally, “in danger” listings follow the after-effects of armed conflict, war, pollution and excessive urbanisation.

The UNESCO report says Australia’s 2050 reef plan “requires stronger and clearer commitments… urgently countering the effects of climate change”.

Meanwhile, Ley says “the government will contest this flawed approach, which is one that has been taken without adequate consultation.”

Ley believes climate change is the biggest threat to the reef, but the world heritage committee is “not the forum to make a point” about it.


“You weren’t blindsided, you had your eyes open”

Meanwhile Greens senator Sarah Hanson Young has slammed these comments on Twitter saying quote “Australia’s Environment minister says her government was “blindsided by the UN declaring the great barrier reef in danger.

Ahh no. You weren’t blindsided you had your eyes closed, you ignored the science and kept taking donations from the fossil fuel industry.”

Climate

Concerns a Typhoon will hit Tokyo during the Olympics

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It’s the last thing Tokyo needs right as the Opening Ceremony is getting underway

Meteorologists are watching out for a typhoon which is forming off the south coast of Japan.

It could reach Tokyo by the end of the weekend, on day two of the Games.

The storm is yet to be fully formed, making trajectory predictions extremely difficult for storm trackers.

Japan is experiencing tropical conditions with temperatures over 30 degrees celsius expected throughout the Games.

Here’s where it’s heading

The area of low pressure southeast of Japan is expected to gather strength and move northwestward

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Business

Tesla strikes deal with BHP Group, protecting an EV future

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One of the worlds biggest EV carmakers has protected itself from a future supply crunch

Tesla has struck a nickel-supply deal with BHP Group.

The Elon Musk-led company is seeking to protect itself from a future supply crunch.

BHP will provide the electric-carmaker with the metal from its Nickel West operation in Western Australia.

In a statement, BHP stated that the two companies would work together to make the battery supply chain more sustainable.

Growing concern of future nickel supplies

Telsa’s billionaire boss, Elon Musk, has repeatedly expressed concern about future supplies of nickel due to challenges in sustainable sourcing.

Musk has pleaded with miners to produce more nickel, with demand set to skyrocket as the world increasingly moves toward electric vehicles and phase out internal combustion engine cars.

Nickel is a key component in lithium-ion batteries

The product is used in electric vehicles – and Tesla needs it greatly.

It packs more energy into batteries and allows producers to reduce use of cobalt, which is more expensive and has a less transparent supply chain.

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Climate

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.

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  • 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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