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Politics: The Great Barrier Reef actually is "in danger"

China Coast Guard Ships Fire Water Cannons at Philippine Vessels

  China Coast Guard Ships Fire Water Cannons at Philippine Vessels Manila called the Chinese actions "illegal" and reminded Beijing of the U.S.'s backing on South China Sea disputes.The latest maritime clash in the contested waters took place in the early hours of Tuesday, when three China Coast Guard vessels "blocked and water cannoned" two Philippine supply boats en route to Second Thomas Shoal, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. of the Philippines said in a statement published online.

The Great Barrier Reef has held World Heritage status since 1981. Australia's government has lashed out after a United Nations report claimed it had not done enough to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change. The Great Barrier Reef row between Unesco and the Australian government is not new, but it will be quite embarrassing if the country's World Heritage Site is downgraded to the " in danger " list. It's another reminder that if Australia does not get serious about tackling climate change with clear and decisive measures, this will affect its standing in the world, not just diplomatically and

On Friday a committee of 21 countries will decide whether the reef is placed on Unesco’s world heritage ‘ in danger ’ list. Photograph: Greg Sullavan/Getty Images/iStockphoto. But on Friday, a committee of 21 countries will decide if it wants to listen to the advice of the UN’s science and culture organisation, Unesco, and put the Great Barrier Reef on its list of places that are “ in danger ”. This is not the 40th anniversary party the reef ’s legions of fans had hoped for – whether they’ve admired its 2,300km kaleidoscope of corals from a coffee table book or a mask and snorkel.

In a triumph of politics over science, this week Australia has again avoided an "in-danger" listing for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, despite its continued decline.

a body of water: The Great Barrier Reef actually is © Getty Images The Great Barrier Reef actually is "in danger"

Australia reacted angrily to the draft decision by UNESCO in late June to downgrade the status of the Reef, which was described by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as "appalling." In response, Australia immediately launched an aggressive diplomatic offensive that persuaded the 21-country World Heritage Committee this week to reject UNESCO's science-based advice. But the reprieve may be short-lived - the committee will assess Australia's progress again next year.

China Backs Down in South China Sea After U.S., Philippines Warnings

  China Backs Down in South China Sea After U.S., Philippines Warnings Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said China promised not to intervene in its resupply missions to Second Thomas Shoal—part of a disputed archipelago.Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters on Sunday that "the Chinese will not interfere per my conversation with the Chinese ambassador." He was referring to Beijing's envoy in Manila, Huang Xilian, who received a formal diplomatic protest from the Philippine government last week.

The Great Barrier Reef has deteriorated to such an extent it should be listed as a world heritage site " in danger ," a United Nations committee said Tuesday -- prompting immediate backlash from the Australian government.

Unesco and Australia dispute Great Barrier Reef 's ' in danger ' status – video. World heritage sites are enshrined on the UN list for their cultural or natural significance, or sometimes both. “This is actually about reputational risk, both from Australia’s and Unesco’s point of view,” Morrison said. “The more Australia gets away with its lobbying, the more reputational damage there is to Unesco.” Dr Simon Cripps, the executive director of marine conservation at the international Wildlife Conservation Society, says when a site makes its way on to the world heritage list – as the Great Barrier Reef did in 1981

The committee this week also approved a draft climate policy which clearly states for the first time that climate-related degradation of a World Heritage Area can be used as the basis for in-danger listing. The new policy will be ratified at the UNESCO General Assembly later this year. In the meantime, Australia argued successfully that climate change is a global problem, which should not be applied to Australia's stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is famous around the world for its outstanding beauty and biodiversity and was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Area in 1981. The size of 70 million football fields, the reef stretches along the coast of the State of Queensland for 1,400 miles, the equivalent distance from Canada to Mexico. It supports a vibrant tourism industry, worth $4 billion each year, that employs 65,000 people.

Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Storms a growing danger for East Coast

  Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Storms a growing danger for East Coast Today is Tuesday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. Expect more storms like Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey - slow, long-lived storms that dump dangerous amounts of rain on coastal regions - to hit the East Coast as the century progresses, according to researchers at the American Geophysical Union"When you think of a hurricaneExpect more storms like Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey - slow, long-lived storms that dump dangerous amounts of rain on coastal regions - to hit the East Coast as the century progresses, according to researchers at the American Geophysical Union

As you probably already know, the Great Barrier Reef is in big trouble. About 50 percent of the reef 's coral cover has already been lost, and the generally agreed-upon estimate is that it all could be gone by 2050 unless major action is taken. The clock is ticking, and unprecedented coral-bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 only demonstrate how precarious — and urgent — the situation is. The thin silver lining is that, because the reef 's plight is so dire, it's receiving a surge of attention in the form of research and rehab.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef systems, stretching along the East coast of Australia from the northern tip down to the town of Bundaberg, is composed of roughly 2,900 individual reefs and 940 islands and cays that stretch for 2,300 kilometres (1,616 mi)


Video: Great Barrier Reef 'at risk' (The Independent)

But, like coral reefs almost everywhere, large swaths of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef are, in fact, in decline. The Australian government's latest five-year report card on the status of the Great Barrier Reef acknowledged in 2019 that the outlook is very poor and deteriorating. The reef is endangered and struggling to cope with the cumulative impacts of water pollution from agriculture, coastal development, dredging, shipping and especially climate change. Ambitious plans to further develop and export coal and fossil gas across the reef from the adjoining catchment of the World Heritage Area, if they come to fruition, will only cause further damage.

Bowing to earlier pressure from UNESCO, in 2015 Australia developed a new blueprint to stave off an in-danger listing by improving the condition of the Great Barrier Reef - the Reef 2050 Plan. However, the plan has been widely criticized for ignoring Australia's contribution to climate change. While it includes ambitious targets for reducing runoff of pollution from land, the plan is underfunded and, after 5 years of operation, is failing to reach most of its targets.

Australia’s Barrier Reef erupts in color as corals spawn

  Australia’s Barrier Reef erupts in color as corals spawn CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is spawning in an explosion of color as the World Heritage-listed natural wonder recovers from life-threatening coral bleaching episodes. Scientists on Tuesday night recorded the corals fertilizing billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland state coastal city of Cairns. The spawning event lasts for two or three days. The network of 2,500Scientists on Tuesday night recorded the corals fertilizing billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland state coastal city of Cairns.

5.4m members in the NatureIsFuckingLit community. We are here to appreciate the awesome majesty and So much of the danger lies in the fact that we can't seem to get people on board with the degree of No they aren't because The Donald is 3/3 ded while the great barrier reef is only more than 2/3 ded. Zooxanthellae are actually dinoflagellates, so they are photosynthetic protists, not plants.

Australia clearly views an in-danger listing by UNESCO as an undesirable sanction, which it argues would damage reef tourism. But the purpose of the in-danger list is to highlight World Heritage properties that are in trouble, identify the causes of their decline and address them. Currently, 53 World Heritage properties are on the list. The Galapagos Island and Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System have both gone on, and off, the in-danger list, with no apparent impact on international tourism.

Australia's recent record on tackling climate change is poor. It is the only country in the world to have legislated and then repealed a carbon pricing mechanism, and Australia has no meaningful policies in place to electrify transport. Australia also has one of the highest levels of per-capita emissions of greenhouse gases in the world, with domestic emissions higher than the UK, France or Italy. On top of its domestic pollution, Australia is the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Russia. In the lead-up to the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Australia has not committed yet to net-zero emissions by 2050 and has not increased its comparatively weak Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement since 2015.

So far, Australia has not acknowledged the obvious link between its responsibilities for managing the Great Barrier Reef for future generations, and the damage caused by its ongoing promotion of fossil fuels. Australia can, and must, do better.

Terry Hughes is a distinguished professor at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. His research focuses on reef ecology and climate change Follow him on Twitter: @ProfTerryHughes.

Prosecutors appeal dismissal of Philippines ferry disaster case .
A lawyer for the families of victims of a 2008 Philippines ferry disaster vowed Saturday to challenge the dismissal of a criminal case against a shipping company executive. Persida Acosta, the country's chief public attorney who represents families of the victims, said Saturday she will file a similar appeal on Monday. "It appears there is no one liable anymore," Acosta told AFP. "It's painful to us."The ship's captain was also charged over the tragedy, but he is missing and presumed dead.Sulpicio Lines was later renamed Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

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