Australia
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DELAYS THREATENED SPECIES ASSESSMENTS
04/29/2019
Update Volume
49
Update Issue
12

Australia's environment minister, Melissa Price, has granted extensions sought by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee for 13 threatened species. The extensions effectively delay assessments for up to three years. The 13 species include the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum and the vulnerable Australian sea lion. Cuts to the federal environment department appear to be one reason for the extensions. For the full story, see https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/slashed-morrison-govern….

WESTERN AUSTRALIA PUSHES FOR CARBON EMISSIONS OFFSET
03/11/2019
Update Volume
49
Update Issue
8

Western Australia's environment authority is proposing new guidelines to offset their carbon emissions in an effort to help curb climate change. Under the guidelines, fertilizer plants, power plants, and liquefied natural gas export sites that generate more than 100,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide would be required to buy credits to offset their emissions in order to pass the authority's assessment process. The guidelines are not binding, but the authority's assessments are considered by the state government when approving major projects.

AUSTRALIAN COURT REJECTS COAL MINE IN LANDMARK CLIMATE RULING
02/11/2019
Update Volume
49
Update Issue
5

On February 8, the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales dismissed an appeal by pipeline developers of the Rocky Hill open-cut coal mine against an earlier planning rejection. The court found that construction and operation of the mine would result in greenhouse gas emissions that would contribute to climate change, and thus rejected its construction. This case marks the first time an Australian court has heard expert evidence on the need to stay within a global carbon budget in the context of a proposed coal mine.

AUSTRALIA PROPOSES NEW WATER INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
10/29/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
30

The Australian government has proposed a A$3.9 billion fund for water infrastructure and drought-related projects in an effort to buffer farming communities from future droughts. The fund is designed to surpass immediate relief and aid the agriculture sector long-term with water infrastructure, projects, and research. If approved, the fund would provide A$100 million a year to farming communities to invest in projects. For the full story, see https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-australia-drought-funding/australia-p….

AUSTRALIA SENATE COMMITTEE PROPOSES BAN ON IVORY AND RHINO HORN TRADE
09/24/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
27

An Australian senate committee has proposed a national ban on the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn. The committee found weaknesses in the country's wildlife trade control framework, including its lack of regulations for the domestic market. The committee's report recommends that federal, state, and territory governments develop and implement a national ban with some exemptions, such as musical instruments containing less than 20% ivory. Australia's environment minister, Melissa Price, is considering the recommendations.

QUEENSLAND FACES COURT CHALLENGE OVER SHARK CONTROL PROGRAM
09/10/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
25

An environmental group in Australia has taken legal action against the Queensland government for its use of baited hooks in the Great Barrier Reef under its shark control program. The group is arguing that the program, which allows 173 legal drum lines to operate within the Great Barrier Reef, is inconsistent with the Great Barrier Marine Park's main objective to provide for long-term protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef region. The case is scheduled to be heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in January 2019.

AUSTRALIA WEAKENS COMMITMENT TO CLIMATE ACCORD
08/27/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
24

Australia's outgoing Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, removed requirements from the National Energy Guarantee plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to insufficient parliamentary support. The requirements would have mandated that greenhouse gas emissions from the country's power industry be reduced by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Opponents of the requirements argued that reducing emissions would put the country at an economic disadvantage after the United States withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.

AUSTRALIA TO INVEST $379 MILLION TO PROTECT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
05/07/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
13

Representing the single largest investment for reef conservation and management in Australia’s history, the Australian Government announced more than 500 million Australian dollars ($379M USD) to fund Great Barrier Reef protection. The funding will target some of the threats to coral reefs including warming waters from climate change, agricultural runoff, and outbreaks from crown-of-thorns starfish, a natural predator of coral. Some criticism of the funding is that it emphasizes tactics that have already been tried and proven less successful than desired.

AUSTRALIAN ENERGY LEADERS LOOK TO END CLIMATE POLICY WAR
04/23/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
11

Australian state energy ministers agreed to move forward with a detailed National Energy Guarantee plan that includes emission cuts. The National Energy Guarantee would require the power sector to cut carbon emissions by 26% from 2005 levels by 2030. Over the past 10 years, disputes over carbon policy have disrupted fossil-fuel power needed for a stable grid and left states to individually pursue renewable energy goals. Particularly, Victoria and Queensland have pushed for much sharper carbon emission cuts and more ambitious renewable energy targets.

GREAT BARRIER REEF THREATENED BY STARFISH
01/08/2018
Update Volume
48
Update Issue
1

An outbreak of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish has been found munching Australia’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. The predator starfish feeds on corals, and the outbreak hits as the reef is still reeling from two consecutive years of major coral bleaching. The threat has caused the government to start culling the starfish. The crown-of-thorns were found in large numbers last month in the Swains Reefs, at the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, by researchers from the reef’s Marine Park Authority.

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