State of the Environment report’s urgent warning

The State of the Environment report, released today by Senator Ian Campbell, sounds an urgent warning on the health of Australia’s environment, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

“Our greenhouse emissions continue to rise, the condition of vital waterways is deteriorating and the decline of important indicator species, including many frogs and fish, is reaching alarming levels,” said Don Henry, ACF’s Executive Director.

“Biodiversity in Australia is in a serious state and climate change is making things more precarious for more species.”

The report shows increased electricity use and road transport are driving the continued rise in greenhouse pollution. The report says the “largest and fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia is the energy sector, contributing 68.6 per cent of Australia’s net emissions. It describes uptake in renewable energy as “slow”.

“With just 0.3 per cent of the world’s population, Australia is responsible for 1.5 per cent of the increase in carbon concentrations since 1970,” Mr Henry said.

“The report shows Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world on appropriate water reuse and storm water harvesting.

“It confirms that 50 years of over-extraction of water for irrigation and the draining of wetlands, as well as a reliance on old-tech answers like dams, have contributed to the decline of many rivers and the wildlife that depend on them.

“The report clearly shows more needs to be done to reverse the ecological crisis of our wetlands and rivers, especially those in the Murray Darling Basin, where 90 per cent of floodplain wetlands have already been lost.

“This is certainly not the time to be weakening legislative protection for the environment, as will happen if the Environment and Heritage Legislation Amendment Bill is passed this week.”