Morrison’s UNESCO Reef Report “the height of hypocrisy”: Greenpeace

SYDNEY, Feb 3 2022 - Australia’s update to the World Heritage Committee on its efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef is the height of hypocrisy, Greenpeace said, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking the global community to fight harder against climate change while refusing to accelerate climate action and supporting the expansion of the coal and gas industry.

This afternoon the Morrison Government published its 2022 State of Conservation report on the Great Barrier Reef, which once again correctly identifies climate change as the number one threat to the Reef but fails to take the necessary climate action to safeguard the Reef’s future. [1]

“The first page of this report correctly identifies that climate change is the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef but instead of acting on that threat with the urgency required the Prime Minister and Environment Minister Sussan Ley appear more concerned about expanding the fossil fuel industry that is driving the Reef’s destruction,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan said.

“This announcement reeks of hypocrisy. Morrison calls on other countries to do more to fight climate change when he refused to join the world in increasing climate ambition at COP26 in Glasgow and continues to shower the climate-wrecking coal and gas industries with taxpayer’s money. It’s classic Morrison. He never tells the truth and he never takes responsibility.”

Despite the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgrading the outlook for the Reef from “poor” to “very poor” and the Reef being on the cusp of a fourth mass coral bleaching event in six years, the report says that “Australia has made significant progress in Reef protection efforts”.

“Record high sea temperatures and multiple coral bleaching events are evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is in danger,” Mr Zavan said.

“If the Morrison Government was genuine about its commitment to protecting the Reef it would act on climate change, the number one driver of its decline, instead of playing political games and dreaming up band-aid solutions to the climate crisis facing the Reef.”




At last year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Australia was one of only a handful of developed economies to refuse to lift its dangerously low 2030 emissions reduction target of 26-28 per cent. Australia’s policies, if extrapolated across all nations, would lead to global heating of more than 3 degrees Celcius and the destruction of all coral reefs worldwide. [2] 

A recent report found that even with global heating of 1.5 degrees Celcius only 0.2 per cent of coral reefs will avoid regular heat stress. [3]



Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impacts Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]