Tuesday 31 May 2016

The Great Barrier Reef warnings that Australia tried to hide have now been published

The chapter warned that the natural wonder is ‘deteriorating’ because of ‘multiple threats’ – but it then disappeared from the official report following objections from the Australian government

Friday 27 May 2016

A damning report about the Great Barrier Reed that Australia demanded was pulled from the internet has been leaked online.

The chapter was written by climate experts for a Unesco report on tourism and climate change, and describes the ways that the natural wonder is under threat. But after pressure from the Australian government it was removed from the official report – which now doesn’t mention the Great Barrier Reef at all.

The deleted report stressed both the beauty of the reef and also pointed to the threats – mostly from climate change - that are destroying large parts of it. Almost all of the reef is now “bleached” – when warm water expels algae and turns it white – and researchers have said that half of it is dead or dying.

The report – written by Adam Markham from the Union of Concerned Scientists – pointed out simply that the site was at risk from global warming and that its future is at risk.

But Australia said that it had removed the report because concern about the natural wonder appeared to be discouraging tourism.

“Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of world heritage properties impacted on tourism,” a spokesperson for Australia’s environment department told The Guardian.

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