Australia’s State of the Environment 2011 report issues a warning about the profound changes and significant risks to our environment from climate change, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“The 2011 report on the state of our environment reveals significant challenges for our environment from
the impacts of climate change both now and in the future,” Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said today.
“Natural ecosystems, native vegetation, water security, food production and coastal communities are
particularly vulnerable to climate variability and sea level rises.
“Reports from the Durban international climate talks indicate there may be up to a 3.5 degree increase in
global warming this century, locked in unless global emissions can be dramatically reduced over the next
“Yet today’s State of the Environment report continues to be underpinned by models projecting that
temperatures are likely to increase by only one degree by 2030 – leaving our environment and
“The new report says climate change poses the largest future threat to our inland river systems and
compromises our water security.
“Despite this acknowledgement, the most significant national water reform in our lifetime, the Murray‐
Darling Basin Plan, does not take into consideration the impacts of climate change or the likelihood of
reduced water availability from hotter, drier weather in parts of the Basin.
“Nor has enough been done for coastal communities, vulnerable to the twin pressures of sea level rise
coupled with ongoing population increases. This is a well‐documented and increasing threat for coastal
communities, yet the report says Australia’s ability to adapt is low and declining when compared with other
countries. Strong leadership will be needed by governments at all levels to turn‐around coastal planning
and protect coastal towns and cities from increased natural disasters.
“The good news from the 2011 environment report is that households are playing their part in reducing
our carbon pollution by cutting per capita energy and water use in recent years. We are reaching a critical time when the response of governments at all levels must match the challenges of adapting and mitigating dangerous climate change,” Mr Clarke said.