Australia’s conservative government will ignore the United Nations’ call to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger,” CBS News reports. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned Tuesday that “urgent” action is needed to preserve the remaining coral as the Great Barrier Reef has suffered three catastrophic mass coral bleaching events since 2015 due to warming ocean temperatures. Including the reef on the endangered list could result in it losing its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which could hurt the Australian economy due to an anticipated decline in tourism. The reef system produces $6.4 billion annually for the Australian economy and 64,000 jobs.
Sussan Ley, Australian Minister of the Environment, cited $3 billion spent on reef protection as justification for rejecting the UN recommendation. “I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world’s reefs but it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best-managed reef in the world for an ‘in danger’ listing,” Ley said.