Australia We Love: How are we tracking?
Friends of the Earth is a proud member of Places You Love.
PYL has just completed a landmark survey of Australia’s environment – our rivers, energy, climate, food, forests, waste and pollution, land management, oceans and reefs.
Here is what we found
- More than 85% of rivers in Australia have been modified due to irrigation, dams other development pressures.
- Of the sixty-eight zones of the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s most significant agricultural region, only one zone is rated in good health. Thirty-eight zones are rated in poor health and twenty-one in very poor health.
- Ongoing impacts of development and disturbance and the projected impacts of climate change will result in further decline of freshwater resources.
- Almost one-third of the 851 nationally important wetlands in Australia do not have adequate water supply or flow to maintain their health.
- Concentrations of greenhouse pollution in the atmosphere are higher than any time in the last 800,000 years, and emissions are projected to increase by 50% by 2050.
- We will likely see four degrees of warming by the end of this century.
- Two degrees of climate warming will likely mean the loss of most coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef, 80% of freshwater wetlands from Kakadu National Park, and Queensland’s tropical forests.
- It is estimated that by 2050, increases in climate change-related bushfire damage in southeastern Australia will have cost an additional $1.5 billion per year, (over and above the costs if no climate change took place).
- More than 3,000 Australians die each year from air-pollution-related illness, nearly twice the national road toll.
- Each Australian family contributes enough rubbish each year to fill a three-bedroom house from floor to ceiling, and the total amount of waste generated in the future is projected to increase.
- The health costs of air pollution in Australia are estimated to be in the order of $11.1 billion to $24.3 billion annually.
- Since the 1970’s, application of agricultural chemicals in Australia has been steadily rising, contaminating water systems.
- Since 1985 more than half of the coral cover of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost.
- Remaining coral cover is predicted to be lost with two degrees warming through climate change.
Feral animals and plants
- Invasive species have significantly contributed to extinctions in most regions of Australia,
- including more than 40 native mammals, birds and frogs.
- We cleared an average of 1 million hectares of native vegetation per year between 2000 and 2010.
- At least 50% of all wetlands in Australia have been drained, filled or destroyed.
- 1259 plants, 396 animals and 67 ecological communities are listed as threatened by the Australian Government.
Humans in Australia
- By 2100, Australian population is projected to be between 42 and 70 million people.
- Total consumption per person in Australia is one of the highest in the world, and is projected to increase by up to 27% by 2030, with far-reaching impacts on nature including biodiversity, land use, climate and water.
- By 2050, energy consumption in Australia is projected to increase by around 21%, with only 14% coming from renewable sources.
You can find the full report here.