A senior Unesco official has rejected Australia’s claims it bowed to political pressure when recommending that the Great Barrier Reef be placed on the world heritage ‘in danger’ list. The decision met the ire of Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, who said: ‘This decision was flawed. Clearly there were politics behind it … for the world heritage committee not to even foreshadow this listing is, I think, appalling.’ China, the current chair of the world heritage committee, has rejected suggestions it was behind the decision. Unesco’s recommendation comes after rising ocean temperatures and mass bleaching events have impacted the reef since the last time it was assessed by the committee in 2015

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