Scientists demand urgent action on reef mine plans

The World Heritage Committee will meet to consider whether the Great Barrier Reef should be put on a list of sites considered ‘in danger’ due to the threat of industrial development and other issues.Australia’s leading marine scientists have demanded governments take better care of the Great Barrier Reef just weeks from a key United Nations meeting considering the impacts of proposed coal and gas development at the world heritage site.
Nanjing Night Net

In a joint statement, the scientists urge governments to contain several proposed new ports along the reef’s coast associated with coal mining and gas projects to existing industrial areas.

They also want the federal and Queensland governments to encourage greater sharing of existing infrastructure to reduce industrial footprint, and better management of shipping through the reef.

The statement includes signatures from more than 150 scientists from 33 Australian institutions, along with a number of prominent international researchers.

”As scientists, we are concerned about the additional pressures that will be exerted by expansion of coastal ports and industrial development accompanied by a projected near-doubling in shipping, major coastal reclamation works, large-scale seabed dredging and dredge spoil disposal – all either immediately adjacent to, or within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” the statement says.

The UN’s World Heritage Committee will meet in Cambodia later this month to consider whether the Great Barrier Reef should be put on a list of sites considered ”in danger” due to the threat of industrial development and other issues.

The statement was first circulated to attract signatures in April. The WWF – which has been funded by the Thomas Foundation to run a massive ”Fight for the Reef” campaign – paid for a consultancy to coordinate the declaration.

Scientists who signed the declaration include laureates of the United Nations’ 500 Global Roll of Honour.

International signatories are based at institutions including the Natural History Museum in London, and the University of California, Berkeley.

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