UNESCO angers greens on Great Barrier Reef

Australian scientists and environmental advocates say they are disappointed by the, quote, "terrible" decision to not add the Great Barrier Reef to a list of World Heritage Sites that are in danger.

A committee at UNESCO, the U.N.'s educational, scientific and cultural body, recommended classifying the Great Barrier Reef as 'in danger' last month.

But that drew an angry response - and intensive lobbying - from Australia.

A U.N. panel agreed on Friday (July 23) to defer the vote until 2022.

Environmental groups and scientists criticized the decision on Saturday as driven by politics, not science.

This was David Ritter, Greenpeace head for Australia Pacific:

"The Australian government's own scientists say that the reef's condition is very poor and the reef is continuing to deteriorate. It is difficult to imagine how much more in danger the reef could be, so very clearly it is vested interest, agendas, that have triumphed here. Not science. Not common sense. And not the best interests of the Great Barrier Reef."

Australia's reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world's largest carbon emitters per capita, but its conservative government has steadfastly backed fossil fuel industries, saying tougher action on emissions would cost jobs.