The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is now officially in critical condition. The health status has declined from Significant concern to critical, announced the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It announced that climate change is the biggest threat to World Heritage sites.
According to the report by IUCN, almost one-third of the 252 World Heritage Sites are now threatened by climate change including the Great Barrier Reef.
The most common disasters are shrinking glaciers, coral bleaching, frequent intense fires, drought are a few of the most common climate changes witnessed.
The reef is dealing with ocean warming, acidification, and record heat. Since 1995, it has lost half of its coral to climate change. The devastation has been extremely high in the last five years. The change in status reflects the same.
The critical status of IUNU is the highest and most severe. It simply indicates that it needs urgent, additional, and large scale conservation measures. The mass coral bleaching has threatened the reef’s health and the marine life dependent on it.
There are few things that are under immediate control such as overfishing and habitat destruction.
Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef Campaigner David Cazzulino told Reuters that,
“Right now the federal government is shirking their responsibility to act as the custodian for the Great Barrier Reef and it’s just appalling.
We need a national climate change policy that has the future of our reef firmly at its heart. This means limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, getting to net-zero emissions as soon as possible, well before 2050, and having a plan to get to 100% renewable energy, which we know is possible, will create a better society for all of us and create thousands of clean jobs in the process.”
The other Australian World Heritage Sites such as the Blue Mountains, the Gondwana rainforests, the Ningaloo Coast, and Shark Bay have also received lowered status, reported CBS News.