UCS Publishes Updated Great Barrier Reef Case Study Removed from World Heritage Report

Statement by Adam Markham, Deputy Direct of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS

Published May 27, 2016

WASHINGTON (May 27, 2016)—Yesterday, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP); and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report examining how climate change is quickly becoming one of the most significant risks for World Heritage sites.

Here is a statement from Adam Markham, deputy director of climate and energy at UCS, regarding the removal of Australian sites from the report.  

“I was disappointed that we had to omit information on the Australian sites—the Great Barrier Reef, Tasmanian wilderness and Kakadu National Park. It now appears this was due to pressure on UNESCO by the Australian government. Ironically, despite the stress it’s under, the Great Barrier Reef is among the best managed World Heritage sites, so it is surprising that the government felt the need to make such a request.

“Nevertheless, the report as published includes a very broad and representative selection of World Heritage sites and its message remains clear: climate change is fast becoming one of the most significant risks for World Heritage sites across the globe. It’s safe to say that the sites profiled in the report are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of those that are vulnerable to climate impacts.

“UCS believes conversations about the mounting threats to the Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage sites need to happen and should be done publicly, which is why we published an updated version of the case study on the Great Barrier Reef that was removed from the report on our website.”

Click here to view the Great Barrier Reef case study.