The UN dumped Australia from its climate change report after the country objected that the information could hamper its tourism industry.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), along with the Union of Concerned Scientists and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), mutually published a report – “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”. It had chapters on the “Great Barrier Reef” and reports on Kakadu and Tasmanian forests, which were not on the final copy, according to ABC News.
Australian Department of Environment objected about the information and said that the reports showed no support for Australia’s heritage properties. Moreover, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he had no information about the facts in the report.
The Reef report was evaluated by Adam Markham, the lead author. He said that the unexpected decision dashed his hopes.
“Australia has a good story to tell about its climate science and it should tell it,” said Markham in a report by The Guardian.
“Rather than have a negative effect on tourism, I think this information would have helped galvanise the international community to want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level where we might be able to reduce the impact on the [Great Barrier Reef] in the long term,” he added.
Meanwhile, Will Steffen, one of the scientific reviewers of the reef report, called Australia’s “move similar to the old Soviet Union.”
The Wilderness Society, an Australian non-governmental body, called the government to showcase the censored parts of the reports. It said that the reports are the evidence of a reality that the government is hiding about the climate change.
“Censoring a report does not diminish the threats to tourism from climate change,” said Lyndon Schneiders, the national director of the society.
“It makes the Australian government look petty and ridiculous, and hampers transparent debate about climate change in Australia,” he added.
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, is affected by warming temperatures, leading to coral bleaching. Around 93 percent of the reefs are in critical condition.