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Australia needs a wake-up call

WHETHER AUSTRALIA’S Great Barrier Reef will be placed on the World Heritage “in danger” list will likely be decided by July. Australia was given a conditional reprieve from an “in danger” classification in 2015 (1) to implement the Reef 2050 long-term sustainability plan (2). Soon after, in 2016, the largest climate-induced bleaching event on record caused at least 22% coral mortality in the Great Barrier Reef, which had already been listed in poor condition for the fifth year in a row (3) and was suffering from~ 50% loss of long-term coral cover (4). Government action has fallen short. Reforms of deforestation laws, a government pledge to the World Heritage Committee to alleviate declining water quality, failed to pass (5).

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