Australia report reveals a ‘shocking’ decline in the environment

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Australia’s particular wildlife is in decline due to forest fires, drought, human activity, and global warming, according to a “shocking” government report released this Tuesday (07/19/2022).

The main findings of the five-year report paint a picture of extensive damage to nature, both on land and in water. The destruction has been accelerated by Australia’s temperature rise of 1.4C since the early 20th century, the report says.

“It tells the story of a crisis and decline in the Australian environment,” Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said, calling the document “shocking.”

The 2019-20 Australian “black summer” bushfires burned more than 8 million hectares of native vegetation and killed or displaced 1-3 billion animals, according to the report.

Meanwhile, marine heat waves caused the Great Barrier Reef to bleach in 2016, 2017 and 2020, it added. Since then, a government report in March determined that the reef had undergone massive new bleaching.

Millions of hectares of primary forest have been cleared since 1990. More than 7 million hectares of endangered species habitat were cleared between 2000 and 2017 outside Australia’s environmental conservation laws, the report added.

In five years, more than 200 plant and animal species of great national significance have been added to the list of threatened species. “Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent,” the report reveals, with the number of new species listed as most threatened rising 8% in five years.

Australian cities are also growing rapidly, raising urban heat, pollution and waste, affecting demand for water and energy resources, the study adds. “Sydney has lost more than 70% of its native vegetation due to development,” she notes.

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“The findings of this report are painful and the failure of the authorities that has led to loss on this scale is devastating,” said WWF-Australia Acting Director Rachel Lowry.

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