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AUSTRALIA’S NEW CLIMATE PROTECTION PLAN FOR THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

AUSTRALIA’S NEW CLIMATE PROTECTION PLAN FOR THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Context:

On January 28, 2022, Australia launched a new climate protection plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Key Points:

  • The government has launched a USD 700 million protection package for the Great Barrier Reef in the hope of preventing a large network of corals from being removed from the UNESCO world heritage list.
  • This plan will help prevent the wall from being placed on UNESCO's “in danger” list.

Reef 2050 Plan:

  • While the United Nations has previously threatened to undermine the list of World Heritage Resources in 2015, Australia had developed a "Reef 2050" plan and invested billions of dollars in security. 
  • The steps are believed to slow down the descent. However, a large part of the reef system is already damaged.

Destruction of Coral Reefs:

  • According to a recent study, bleaching has affected 98% of reefs since 1998. 
  • Bleaching occurs when healthy corals are under stress due to rising sea temperatures. 
  • High temperatures cause them to release algae that remain in their muscles.  
  • The Australian reef experienced three major catastrophic events during 2016, 2017, and 2020 heat waves.

Great Barrier Reef:

  • It is the world's largest coral reef system, comprising more than 2,900 unique reefs and 900 islands. The system extends over 2,300 kilometres.

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