State of the Environment report: weak, vacillating and lacking in action Greens
The 2006 State of the Environment report is more sceptical about climate change than John Howard.
It headlines the topic as 'Australia's variable climate' and excuses the Howard government for a decade of inaction:
"It is increasingly clear that the last 50 years of experience with rainfall patterns is not a sufficient time span to plan and design an adequate response to climate variability and change" (p20).
The report ignores the alarming increase in the rate of global CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere and has no new data since the last report in 2001.
"All the latest science has been ignored," Senator Brown said.
"This report follows the trend of government nobbling. Future reports must be developed by independent authors," Senator Brown said.
The report makes no mention of Cyclone Larry, and coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, which is large-scale, and the potentially catastrophic loss of the whole reef within decades is blithely described as "a possible impact of climate change" (p33).
Destructive processes including the Howard government's logging of old-growth forests is slammed in the body of the report:
"It is clear that some broad conclusions can, however, be made about trends operating over a longer time frame. It is clear that the major pressures on biodiversity have been operating for decades are still strong and will continue to drive decline in biodiversity across large areas of the continent together with new and emerging pressures."
But this becomes a weak excuse for the government in the key point:
"Biodiversity decline will continue because of the consequences of past actions and the time it will take to see the effects of current initiatives".
The first mentioned reviewer of the report is the coal industry's Dr Robin Batterham.
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603