Aussie Government: UNESCO Should NOT cite Climate Risks to the Great Barrier Reef

There is growing scientific conflict over bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Tourism Queensland

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Adding to the confusion of Australia’s approach to international climate change diplomacy.

Australia pressures Unesco over impact of climate change on Great Barrier Reef

Lisa Cox and Ben Smee
Thu 29 Aug 2019 04.00 AEST

It comes ahead of the release of two government reports that are expected to project a poor outlook for the reef, the status of which will be reassessed by Unesco next year after previously avoiding an in danger listing.

At a meeting of the committee in July, Australian representatives said climate change should not be used as the basis for an in danger listing for world heritage properties.

We would not expect to see propositions that climate change threats would form the basis for in danger listing individual properties because this is a global problem not amenable to site-level intervention,” Stephen Oxley, from the environment and energy department, told the committee.

“But we do need to find a way to recognise the reality that whole categories of world heritage properties globally are threatened by climate change – coral reefs, glaciers and mountain forests to name three examples.”

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In my opinion the Scott Morrison government is trying to play both sides of the climate debate – on one hand they want reliable fossil fuel energy, but at the same time they don’t want to upset the greens.

This impossible effort to reconcile climate activism with support for fossil fuels appears to be leading to confusing episodes like this latest Australian proposition to UNESCO, that climate change should be recognised as a serious threat, but should not be cited as a specific threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

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August 29, 2019 2:43 pm


My take on it is that the Aussies are waking up to the fact that if the world is telling tourists the GBR is just a brown slushy blob, why would it attract tourists, which is a more reliable, long term income than that from some obscure climate fund that might fall over tomorrow.

One can only go on so long trying to attract business by saying “nothing to see here folks, it’s all dead, move on” before the accountants start complaining.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  HotScot
August 29, 2019 5:36 pm

I can tell you that a lot of people at the present time are absolutely certain the GBR has been destroyed, as have most coral reefs all over the world.
There are a few who are so mind-addled that they do not believe this affects their plans to see the reefs on their upcoming vacation, but most likely do.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 29, 2019 9:33 pm

“I can tell you that a lot of people at the present time are absolutely certain the GBR has been destroyed, as have most coral reefs all over the world.”

A couple of years ago there was a WUWT thread publicizing a study that found no injury to reefs around about 20 uninhabited islands. Conclusions: local impacts (overfishing, coral mining, sunscreen washouts, sewage contamination) were responsible for reef damage elsewhere, not global (warming) effects.

Big Al
Reply to  Roger Knights
August 30, 2019 10:01 am

Your reference to people so ” absolutely certain”… The Deep State has a program to help sheepeople with this out come. It started in Germany. Pavlov’s Dog to MK ULTRA to today’s ”absolutely certain”. MSM , MOCKING BIRD media is SHADOW GOVERMENT sock puppet. Just like Barry. Tick Tock for Barry.

Reply to  Big Al
August 30, 2019 1:26 pm

Australian authorities are sounding the alarm about the health of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral. The habitat was already in bad condition, but now the status of one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet has been officially downgraded from “poor” to “very poor.”

Reply to  HotScot
August 29, 2019 6:56 pm

Sounds like good news to us divers who actually know better. Are the tour package prices dropping?

Steve S.
Reply to  HotScot
August 29, 2019 9:09 pm

This is consistent with what I previously said when that Australian lady official said that the GBR looked alive and well to her when she vistited it. It was clear as day that she was declaring that the GBR was open for business.

IMHO, tourism is being hurt by the propaganda and the Australian Chamber of Commerce is letting the pols know it. The pols climbed over the back of the GBR to get power and now those that have had to pay the price for it are secretly objecting.

August 29, 2019 2:51 pm

The Australian government is not alone in proposing Climate-Change Lite policies to mollify Green or Socialist Groups. The strategy does not work. Instead of refuting the fabricated so-called science called upon by the Alarmists, the conservative forces waste their time in Neville Chamberlain like attempts to appease the Global Warming Monster with predictably futile results.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 30, 2019 2:26 am

That is close to Godwin but you are right. The green lies need to be met head on, not pampered to with luke warm acceptance.

whole categories of world heritage properties

The word ‘properties’ implies a proprietor, are they trying to suggest that the UN “owns” the GBR and all other world heritage sites?

Reply to  Greg
September 2, 2019 6:05 am

They would like to, just as they would wish to take over the Amazon via their ground troops, WWF.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 30, 2019 11:07 am

BBC World News today is reporting:

” The Great Barrier Reef’s outlook has been officially downgraded from poor to very poor due to climate change. Rising sea temperatures thanks to human-driven global warming remain the biggest threat to the reef, a five-year Australian government report says.

” Addressing reporters in Sydney, the GBRMPA’s chief scientist, David Wachenfeld, agreed the reef’s problems were “largely driven by climate change”.

” “Despite that, with the right mix of local actions to improve the resilience of the system and global actions to tackle climate change in the strongest and fastest way possible, we can turn that around,” he added.”

August 29, 2019 3:01 pm

If Morrison and Co. had any balls, they would tell the UN to go get stuffed. What is the point in belonging to the enemy?

August 29, 2019 3:07 pm

“once you have paid him the Danegeld/ You never get rid of the Dane.”
Green fanatics cannot be ‘bought off’ because you can never give them enough that they will not ask for more .

August 29, 2019 3:52 pm

I read that a volcano erupted deep under the sea and the lava (not sure of the scientific word) floated to the top and is on its way to the barrier reef, which could help it grow back stronger….. But I also read this If its not CO2, which I personally do not believe to be the cause of the weather changes, then what is causing the weather to be so different, for example the heavy rains, hotter weather in some countries??

Reply to  Sunny
August 29, 2019 4:38 pm

Why don’t you believe it to be the cause? It’s pretty much universally accepted it is at least part of the cause.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2019 7:06 pm

Maybe “universally accepted” however, there is no evidence what so ever that CO2 is even part of the cause of weather changes. None! Zip!

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 29, 2019 11:24 pm

there is no evidence what so ever that CO2 is even part of the cause of weather changes

This is what some call ‘d3nial’. There is no evidence, what you mean to say it is not warming us.

This is is stark contrast with notable scientists who call out alarmism, such as Judith Curry and Roy Spencer. It is even more contrast with the rest of the scientific community, but well then, maybe you have made up your mind on the topic. Gavin Schmidt for example, doesn’t only cite warming detected, especially over NH land area, but says the warming due to CO2 is probably more than what has been detected due to random variation. I’m not telling you can’t disagree with doctors Curry and Schmidt, you should, because they don’t agree with each other, but the people who have education, have done research in research groups.

On the other side you have basically people like Salby, who have proven to viciously drive home brewed theories which draw no traction at all, even when there was some initial interest.

I know saying this won’t make people happy, but it is necessary to give a little bit rope. CO2 does seem to have (according to Lewis and Curry) some effect on climate when we use our planet as an experimental approach, but the sensitivity is much lower than the fat-tail risk advocates want people to believe in order to drive their pet policies like resourcing public transport and composting potato peels.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Hugs
August 30, 2019 1:50 am

I didn’t say it didn’t have an effect just that it does not *THE* cause, not even a little bit.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Hugs
August 30, 2019 1:53 am

And remember, the climate change hypothesis is that it is our emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel use (The ~3% of ~410ppm/v CO2) and those emissions alone which is *CAUSING* weather and climate to change in a catastrophic way.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Hugs
August 30, 2019 3:48 am

Lewis & Curry on climate sensitivity took IPCC numbers and recalculated. Their result is constrained by IPCC and is not stated as being one that they personally agree with. Geoff S

Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2019 8:02 pm

The cause of weather changes?

Get a grip.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2019 11:56 pm

Yeah. Everyone in the Universe. Including the Clingons.

Reply to  Simon
August 30, 2019 3:43 am

The trolls are busy today.

The black body radiation from the surface, at ~15microns, was saturated at 280ppm CO2. The ‘wings’ at 14 and 16microns continue to have ‘some’ effect. It is at these wavelengths the CAGW people have hung their theories; that this part of the spectrum is heating the troposphere at or near the Tropopause. There is no evidence of this.

So, as we humans ‘double’ the CO2 concentration the path length to saturation halves. There is no further CO2-related heating, no ‘blanket’. Nothing. No evidence whatsoever.

However, the ‘different’ weather that we have been having is due solely to the change in the (NH) Jetstream, most probably caused by a combination of ENSO, PDO, NAO etc summing instead of cancelling. For every ‘heatwave’ that has been screamed at us by the MSM, there has been unseasonably cold and frosty weather on the other side of the loop – the media did not report on that!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  AngryScotonFraggleRock
August 30, 2019 4:56 am

One correction IMO. The surface isn’t a black body radiator. Otherwise I totally agree with your post.

Reply to  Simon
August 30, 2019 4:08 am

Because in peru they found a Aztec town, and graves of children who had been sacrificed to their gods… The research team said that the children were killed because of the el nino affect… Also I saw pictures of the british river thames frozen, with people skating on it.. It seem that the worlds weather has always been “up and down”, and to only blame it on CO2 doesn’t seem right to me… If it was CO2, then why isn’t the worlds governments stopping its use? Why are carbon capture machines not already in use? Carbon engineering ltd, has proven that it can produce ultra low carbon fuels, which can be used in diesel, petrol vehicles and aeroplanes, yet the only funding they got was from three usa oil companies… The total lack of action is what makes be believe that it isn’t CO2. Also, electric vehicles use mass amounts of plastic and to mine the minerals needed for the batteries uses carbon diggers and drills, it also destroys so much land

Don Perry
Reply to  Sunny
August 29, 2019 5:15 pm

If you’ve lived long enough, the answer to your question about the weather is very clear. It’s been just like this before and what you remember past weather to have been, will be so again. I’ve lived through cyclical changes spanning more than 7 decades and what the weather is now, is what it has been in the past and shall be again in the future.

Reply to  Don Perry
August 30, 2019 11:49 am

Hear hear

Reply to  Sunny
August 29, 2019 5:49 pm

It is all explained clearly right in this book by Roger Pielke, Jr…and you will find that the weather is really not so different from what it has been all along.

To help us better understand today’s weather
To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr., prof at U of CO – Boulder’s Center for Science and Policy Research (2018).

comment image?resize=660%2C300&ssl=1

Reply to  Sunny
August 29, 2019 5:52 pm

Except Sunny, according to the world’s best ‘gold standard’ climate authority – the IPCC – there are NO weather events that could be described as ” so different, for example the heavy rains, hotter weather”

Weather has always BEEN weather, and always WILL BE weather. It’s NATURE.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Sunny
August 29, 2019 5:59 pm

“If its not CO2, which I personally do not believe to be the cause of the weather changes, then what is causing the weather to be so different, for example the heavy rains, hotter weather in some countries??”

The weather is not different, Sunny. You are falling victim to the hype put out by alamrists. There have always been heavy rains and hot weather taking place on the Eath. Alarmists see Global Warming in everything. It’s wishful thinking, on their part, Sunny. They see what they want to see. Don’t believe them, they will lead you astray.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 29, 2019 6:32 pm

“They see what they want to see. Don’t believe them, they will lead you astray.”

So what d you see when you see this Tom?

Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2019 11:40 pm

You seem to have quiet Tom….

Reply to  Eric Worrall
August 30, 2019 9:39 am
(from the chart legend)…”Simple fit based on CO2 concentration and volcanic activity”…So, is this another GIGO computer model BIASED with the premise that CO2 is the cause of rising temperatures?

Reply to  Simon
August 30, 2019 2:42 am

You mean geologically abrupt warming and accelerating don’t you?

Phil R
Reply to  Simon
August 30, 2019 10:35 am


No expert, but by my Mark I untrained eyeball it looks like there has been roughly
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 °C rise in temps since the mid-late 1700’s. Also, based on their 95% confidence interval, they can’t even determine whether the current temps are warmer than that period or not.

Reply to  Simon
August 30, 2019 3:38 am


Berkeley have already been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

Reply to  HotScot
August 30, 2019 12:10 pm

“Berkeley have already been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.”
Please explain how?

Reply to  Sunny
August 30, 2019 3:04 am

Who says the weather is different? The UK Met Office tells us that the August Bank Holiday was the “hottest on record”. It doesn’t bother to mention that the last Monday in August has only been a holiday for about 50 years. Prior to that it was the first Monday and this year it was also the earliest date it could have been.

The highest August temperature on record was 38.5° at Faversham in 2003, a full 5° higher than the so-called record last Monday at Heathrow Airport, and both Faversham and Heathrow have “issues” which make their readings unreliable, as does the Cambridge University site which as of this year holds the July record!

If you want record temperatures I can oblige. At this time of year the suntrap outside my garage at around 5 pm is regularly above 45°! I am expecting to be asked to install the necessary equipment within days!

In the meantime try cooling down with this:

Gary Pearse
August 29, 2019 4:17 pm

There is no time like the present to shut down the proliferation of government deep state science divisions and create a central science body to manage research and grants in a way that allows participation of qualified scientists of a broad range of views on the science. The grants should invite studies and arguments in a competitive atmosphere in recognition of the enormous knowledge gaps in a science used and abused for nefarious political and crony capitalist purposes.

Several orders of magnitude greater expenditure has been made on the climate science account than on any other science plus that on unsuitable and, so far, unnecessary mitigation. Due to gatekeeping, we have nothing to show for it. We still are quoting Tyndall, Arhenius and Charney re the effects. Modern astronomers are not quoting the giants Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus…. Every warming prediction has failed miserably and,
as yet, no unequivocal sign of the existence of a problem has been unearthed. The Great Greening and global bumper crops have been the only clear manifestation of CO2’s effect, giving us a slam dunk on the very substantial benefit side of the cost-benefit scales. The one thing the “fathers” of climate deserve mention for is never whispered. They opined that rise in CO2 would be beneficial!

Aussie Gov: grow big ones and tackle this pandemic monstrosity head on. Hey they claim a 97% consensus. Declare their research done. Researchers killed half the frogs and toads in the world by using contaminated equipment (to save on rubber gloves, perhaps?) A virulent fungus infection from a South African toad is now worldwide). Nutty enviros in California prevented management of forest tinder and, assisted by arsonists, careless campers, and badly maintained electrical powerlines, are responsible for a large death toll and massive repetitive burns of forests and property. Keep these crazy people off the GBR.

Craig from Oz
August 29, 2019 4:35 pm

My take on all this is that the government should just start telling all the concerned parties that since the reef is, apparently, now dead there is no longer any reason to restrict mining in the area.

Start threatening to hand out mining leases in the ‘dead’ areas and I am pretty sure miraculous signs of new coral life would be found overnight.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
August 29, 2019 5:54 pm

Yes! 😀

Reply to  Craig from Oz
August 29, 2019 5:55 pm


And stop grants funding to the James Cook University for reef studies – their work has now been accomplished, they’ve declared the GBR dead. What more studies are needed?

ferd berple
August 29, 2019 4:39 pm

Having paid the blackmailer, the Aussies are surprised that they are being asked for another payment.

Reply to  ferd berple
August 29, 2019 5:50 pm

Ferd berple – I disagree, read the red text section in the Guardian article extract again. The Australian bureaucrats are actually politely telling the blackmailer (UNESCO) to F off. A nice change from the cave-ins during the Labor years. (See my other post here for more details.) Methinks our new-ish PM is smarter than he looks.

ferd berple
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
August 29, 2019 8:06 pm

What the Aussies have said is it isn’t up to them to fix the problem.

The next step will be UNESCO taking over the world heritage site because the Aussies have admitted they cannot solve the problem.

August 29, 2019 5:39 pm

I believe that the Australian government representative’s comment quoted above is entirely logical and appropriate – why should Australia (or any country) be held responsible for any damage done now or in the future to any “world heritage area” within our boundaries by a global phenomenon?
Furthermore I sincerely hope that this is a planned response by our government that is a precursor to them stating that it will therefore not take any “site-level interventions” to protect protected areas that are claimed to be threatened by “climate change”, such as minimising agricultural run-off, banning dredging, etc. etc. If this approach works, the UN may be hoist on its own CAGW petard as other countries take the same approach. Game on!

ferd berple
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
August 29, 2019 7:58 pm

In effect the Aussies are shooting themselves in the foot. The risk loosing soverign control of the reef to globalists. In effect they are playing the amazon card.

August 29, 2019 8:30 pm

We have a so called “”Chief scientist”” So what about asking him to
explain just what the gas CO2 does and does not do. In easily understood

Re. the mention of the UK’s PM Neville Chamberlain as to did hr just
give in by letting Hitler have Checkerslovica, or was he buying time for
the RAF to get enough planes for the later Battle of Britain.

Because in 1938 the RAF was just receiving the first Hurricanes, in fearer to
Germanys BF 109. The Spitfire was still not quite ready at that time.

That 12 months fro 1938 to 39 was critical to the RAF.


Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Michael
August 30, 2019 2:05 am

The Spitfire entered active service from August 1938, the Hurricane before that.

The myth of Chamberlain buying time is just that – Churchill understood just what a catastrophe that “buying” of time really meant. By getting their hands on some of the biggest armaments factories, like Skoda, in Europe -when Chamberlain flew to Munich to sabotage the Alliance that was preparing to fight Hitler – the Nazis were enabled to mechanise many more divisions in preparation for what followed. Chamberlain and the appeasers ensured the war would be longer and more costly.

The appeasers finally began to understand as late as 1939/40 that they were fighting to save their own lives, never mind any other country. Most of the rest of Europe and Churchill and his supporters understood that a long time before.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 30, 2019 4:52 am

A Hurricane also took the tail plain section off of a Dornier 109 bomber flying over London heading towards Buckingham Palace. The Spitfire was awesome however, the Hurricane was a superior and underrated fighter aircraft to the Spitfire IMO.

Johann Wundersamer
August 29, 2019 9:07 pm
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
August 29, 2019 10:21 pm
August 30, 2019 1:36 am

Way too much respect is being given here to UNESCO, which should be merely a talking shop and an administrative secretariat for groups of countries that want to cooperate. Please don’t act as if the UN is some sort of virtuous World Government, doing so helps to make it happen, but without the virtue.

August 30, 2019 8:20 am

Translation: Only Australians are entitled to misrepresent Great Barrier Reef conditions as part of climate change scare messaging. Go get your own reef for scare tactics propaganda. Ours is a reef with a delicate balance between scare and tourism bucks. We don’t need no stinking interlopers of scare.

August 30, 2019 5:08 pm

Two points, re. 1938. Yes both fighters were entering service, but at a very
slow production rate. The period 1938 to January 1940 was critical.

Re. the GBR. First the reef is very long some 2500 k. and its North South.
So the top by Cairns is much warmer than the bottom bit. So of course its
going to vary in its condition depending on the weather changes.

The Australian Government is playing “”Two Bob each way in trying to
keep both the Greens and the Sugar Cane growers happy. Plus of course
they need the tourists too.

I recall a few elections ago one would be politician had a electorate which
had at one end a timber industry, and at the other end was a city. So he had printed two different leaflets (Flyers) printed.

One was all in favour of the timber workers, and the other was all for the
city based Greens. Snag was some of his leaflets got mixed up and ended
up in the wrong end. He did not get elected.


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