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via Australian Institute of Marine Science

AUS - Great Barrier Reef Outlook 'Critical' as Climate Change Called Number One Threat to World Heritage

The outlook for Australian sites including the Blue Mountains and the Gondwana rainforests has deteriorated, report says

The outlook for five Australian world heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains and the Gondwana rainforests, has deteriorated, according to a global report that finds climate change is now the number one threat to the planet’s natural world heritage.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, the official advisory body on nature to the Unesco world heritage committee, has found in its world heritage outlook that climate change threatens a third of the world’s natural heritage sites. The outlook has been published every three years since 2014.

It finds the conservation outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has worsened from “significant concern” to “critical” – the most urgent status under the IUCN system. The reef suffered its third mass coral bleaching in five years during the 2019-20 summer.

In the aftermath of the 2019-20 bushfire disaster, the Gondwana rainforests – comprising 40 separate reserves between Newcastle and Brisbane – and the Greater Blue Mountains world heritage area have seen their outlook move to “significant concern” in 2020 from “good with some concerns” in 2017.

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