Sydney must lead a sustainability transformation in NSW for Australia to have any chance of losing its shameful title as one of the world’s top 10 environmental polluters 1, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“The natural environment of NSW’s beautiful Harbour city, coast and other landscapes are under pressure from the impact of carbon pollution, forest and habitat clearing and other impacts,” said Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Haydn Washington.
“Sydney’s environmental footprint alone has increased from 6.67 to 7.21 hectares per person just over the five years between 1999 and 2004 2, with further pressure on our environment expected as the population grows by an estimated 1.1 million in 2031.
“NSW cannot become truly sustainable unless the State government seizes the opportunity to become a leader in sustainability and curb Sydney’s hunger for natural resources and the vast amounts of pollution generated as it grows.
“Only recently the government approved two new coal-fired power stations with the potential to increase NSW’s carbon emissions by 15 per cent, rather than investing in renewable energy technologies and energy conservation. Yet there is still time to rescind this decision and fast-track building clean energy
infrastructure for NSW.
“The current Metropolitan Strategy Review is an opportunity for Sydney to become a leading light on the world stage in terms of not only reducing carbon pollution but in being at the forefront of sustainable planning and building.
“Many of the solutions and technologies needed to reduce our ecological footprint are available right now but what we are lacking is the political will.
“The Nature Conservation Council calls on the NSW government to show leadership and make Sydney a model for sustainability, sustainable planning and environment protection.” Dr Washington said.
1 We’re in the top 10 of worst polluters by Ben Cubby (SMH, 06/05/10)
2 NSW Metropolitan Strategy Review: Towards 2036