Sunday, March 22, 2009

Key environmental pieces of legislation

Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC) - since it was introduced in 1999 by the Howard government - only 9 approvals have been refused out of 2700 referrals. It's looked at Gunns pulp mill, Port Phillip dredging. Ineffective in protecting native forest 2.5 milion hectares have been cleared for farming since the passing of the act and 16,000 saved. And there are exemptions for the foresty industry so there's been a clearing of a further 80 million hectares by the forestry industry. And there were high levels of illegal clearing of land for agriculture.

There's a forthcoming book, which I look forward to. (From Allen & Unwin I guess.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Old growth forests in Australia

8% of the original old-growth forests in Australia remain and only 4% are in national parks. I'm surprised that so much has survived outside national parks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sustainable food

I find it provoking that some high end restaurants make claims to "sustainability" of the food they serve. To quote one chef: "The area around San Francisco has some very interesting local produce and has paved the way for local, seasonal and sustainable food in the past twenty-five years." 

And I wonder if I'm just being churlish. The prices don't make eating at say Rockpool a sustainable exercise for most people, and I recall they had quite a spiel on sustainable foodstuffs. Local food is nice and saves some transport energy but a huge investment of time and energy in a small amount of high priced may be straining the notion of sustainable. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pacific Adventurer oil spill

The Pacific Adventurer, the ship that has spilt oil down the Queensland coast, is owned by Swire Shipping which is owned by The China Navigation Company which is owned by John Swire and Company.

Swire Shipping has a rather confusingly worded environment policy (who writes these things? - they should be shot for not writing in simple, clear English) while The China Navigation has no environment policy on the web but does have a OHS policy which I can't click through to on the About Us page.

Swire of course owns Cathay Pacific and interestingly owns Clyde Agriculture.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Amazon is stuffed

85% of the Amazon rainforest will be lost if greenhouse gas emissions are not controlled.
even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios destruction of much of the forest is irreversible.
a rise of 2% above pre-industrial levels (widely considered the best-case scenario and the target for ambitious international plans to curb emissions) would see 20-40% of the Amazon die within a 100 years
3% rise would see 75% destroyed by drought
4% rise would kill 85%.

"Ecologically it would be a catastrophe and it would be taking a huge chance with our own climate. The tropics are drivers of the world's weather systems." Peter Cox, professor of climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter

It would change a significant carbon sink into a source.

paper submitted to "Nature Geoscience" and quoted in the Age Friday 13 Marh 2009