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Despite Massive Coral Bleaching, Great Barrier Reef Not Included In UN World Heritage Climate Report; Here's Why

May 31, 2016 05:05 AM EDT
Bleached coral
Photo shows massive coral bleaching in Great Barrier Reef.
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/Oregon State University)

We all have heard about the massive coral bleaching that wiped off 93 percent of the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. So why is Australia's heritage site not included on United Nations' list of world heritage sites threatened by climate change?

Apparently, the Australian government does not want their name of the list because it might negatively impact their tourism industry.

In an exclusive report, The Guardian Australia revealed how the report was altered.

According to The Guardian, the initial report titled "World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate" had the Great Barrier Reef on the list. However, the key chapter was removed after the Australian Department of Environment saw it. Thereby all mention of Australia on their "endangered" list was scraped off in a puff on the final version, despite the fact that the reef is strongly vulnerable to climate change.

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 1,200 miles along the coast, is the world's largest living ecosystem. With its beauty that boasts of 400 types of corals, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 kinds of molluscs, it attracts about two million tourists each year, BBC reported.

Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler told that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's denial is evident.

"Report after report, expert after expert, tells us that the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is climate change. How could UNESCO miss this? They didn't. The Government made sure it was left out."

He added further that hiding from the reality that the Great Barrier Reef is vulnerable will only worsen its state.

The scientists recently found climate change caused the ocean temperatures to rise to emergency levels. On March this year, the worst bleaching on record occurred in Great Barrier Reef.

Meanwhile, other iconic sites in the list were not removed. The report, jointly published by UNESCO, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the United Nations Environmental Program, includes 31 World Heritage properties in 29 countries around the world.

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