Thursday, February 29, 2024

‘Very bad’ odds of the Great Barrier

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Future prospects remainVery bad“For the Great Barrier Reef, even if this unique ecosystem appears to have recovered somewhat over the past year, scientists from the Australian Government announced on July 19, 2021, at a time when UNESCO will be declared a World Heritage Site.

Increasingly rare moments of rest

In June, the United Nations agency published the recommendations of its experts and advisory bodies proposing to place the Great Barrier, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981, on the list of danger“Because of their degradation, much of it is due to repeated episodes of coral bleaching as a result of climatic disturbances. The Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) noted that the reefs are currently in the recovery phase after a decade of severe stress events for the entire system, due to rising waters and the impact of cyclones. These moments of respite are increasingly rare due to global warming, as explained in their annual report published on July 19, scientists from this government agency that has observed the health of the Great Barrier for 35 years.”Frequency of extreme weather events associated with warming and the spread of the ‘crown of thorns’ starfish generate increased and recurring stress, giving corals fewer opportunities to recover.AIMS Managing Director Paul Hardesty said.

Scientists observed 127 coral reefs in 2021 and noted that hard coral cover had increased in 69 of the 81 sites observed in the past two years. Other scientific data published in October showed that the entire 2,300 km of coral had lost half of its reefs since 1995, under the influence of several episodes of bleaching associated with rising water temperatures. Britta Shavelik, director of research programs at AIMS, said the latest findings were “A glimmer of hope in the resilience of coral reefsBut she added thatThe outlook was still very poor due to the risks of global warming and other factors affecting the organisms that make up coral reefs.“. The Great Barrier is threatened by repeated episodes of dangerous coral bleaching due to global warming, industrial or agricultural activities or purple acanthus, an invasive sea star. -Cushion pad “- feeds almost exclusively on corals, and can reach a meter in diameter, It is characterized by feathers whose toxins are toxic to humans.

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Arm wrestling between UNESCO and Canberra

Canberra has embarked on a major lobbying exercise aimed at preventing this exceptional ecosystem from being listed as an “endangered” site. This registration is not considered a penalty by UNESCO. Some countries even see it as a way to raise awareness in the international community and help preserve their heritage. But Australia will take it as a slap in the face and fear it could undermine the tourism appeal of the reef, which stretches more than 2,300 km and generates $4.8 billion in revenue for the Australian tourism sector. It is expected on July 23.

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