Environmental Globalization in Australia

Environmental Globalization in Australia

Globally, the impact of climate change and global warming is severely damaging the atmosphere and Australia is no exception. Australia’s vast natural resources, including the marine and massive land areas for habitats, are the basic elements of the environmental state in Australia. As a first world country, the environmental care should be considered as a priority by the government and non-governmental organizations.  The issues that have emerged in the Australian landscape are quite distinctive. The Great Barrier Reef has been explicitly discussed in the media and how it has been affected by the environmental globalization. However, there are other issues that can be traced from the global and local issues in relation to the environment. The video below introduces some of the critical points of climate change in Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s The Great Barrier Reef covers more than 2300 kilometers along the coast of Queensland (size near half of state of Texas). It is very rich in the maritime resources with 600 types of coral reefs and variety of fishes, jellyfishes, and sea animals. It is known that the reef can be seen in space. [1] Generally, the issue that affected the Great Barrier Reef is the sediments and nutrients effects and threats of oil spill. Other issues include the passage of tropical cyclones and outbreaks of crown-ofthorn starfishes. [2] The most important issue has been the coral bleaching.

It was explained by the environmental commentator, David Attenborough, that coral bleaching has made 93% of the Reef as “dead” or “dying”. [3] This occurs when the ocean temperature rises from global warming and forces the corals to eject “zooxanthellae” algaes. Corals require the algae to help photosynthesize and reproduce. With no photosynthesizing, the corals turn white and eventually die. [4] It was associated with ten cyclones that have slammed against the corals. The possible effects are all over the coasts in the Reef and the marine scientists continue to believe the next waves are going to be more intensified.

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Great Barrier Reef

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have committed $5 billion for the budget to improve the quality of water in the Reef. The campaign included UNESCO, UNEP and the Australian Department of Environment to act on saving the Reef. Unfortunately, the Reef was listed as ‘risk’ by the same departments and was retracted since it created panic and confusion and has affected tourism. Even with the budget allocation, the love for coal and the effect of carbon dioxide emissions do not contribute to the cause for the Reef’s preventive measures. It simply cannot maintain or minimize the risks if the emissions that affect the waters are continuously happening.

 

Clearing of Native Vegetation

The extensive clearing of the land for the vegetation was for the purpose of the high demand for Australian beef by the rising Asian countries. With more process-oriented agriculture, the need for land clearance was also in part with the urbanization. As a result, it has gravely brought serious threat in the fragmentation of native species, which in turn declines the biodiversity amongst the remaining land. An example is the endangered species of Numbat, where the habitat has been severely affected. Other significant effects are the releases of large amounts of greenhouse gases (from the animals) and dryland salinity. [5] There have been numerous regulations to control the validity of the clearing of native vegetation and most of them have been criticized, but the policies are adapting its framework based on the previous governments. It is still being developed at this stage and may be to ensure its regulations are aligned with strong environmental protection.

 

numbat
Numbat: an endangered species

 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Australia is still reliant on high usage of electricity, which can be attributed with high population. The high greenhouse gas production can also be caused by low urban transport systems and high dependence on private cars. Fossil fuels and coal are socially and economically driven, but the problem still was stemmed from the increased population – that leads to increased consumption. The below graph shows the usage of electricity. [6]

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The government has improved the state of emissions through the Kyoto Protocol. [7] It limited the emissions up to 108%. It is impressive however the government at that time felt the goal was a bit generous so it was quite unrealistic.  In the following summit, the Paris summit presented Australia’s aligned with the goal with the other countries. The target in 2030 may be very well be ahead of the Japan, Canada, the United States and EU. Its commitment was to reduce from 50-52 per capita.

fig3
Paris Summit Goal to 2030

Human Settlement

As discussed in the effects from the greenhouse gas emission, the population of Australia continues to increase over the years and it is highly deemed as the cause or influence for the rise of environmental flaws. Despite less than 1% of the land area is occupied and majority are settled in towns and cities, the utilization of the resources has produced more wastes.

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Water, food and power consumption have drastically increased and it does reflect in the flow of solid wastes. As an urbanized nation, the state of environment will ultimately be affected so long as the population remains high. The struggle of the government is how to undermine the activities that leads to excruciating damage to the natural resources and in return maintain the heritage of Australia. [8]

Assessing the Australian Environmental Globalization

Australia remains to have serious consequences with the environmental issues in both land and sea. The carbon dioxide emissions and aquatic and the Reef conservation continue to exist and international organizations have joined forces to account for the overhauling and prevention from the global damage it will result for the future generation. The economic factor was still evident since the production of meat (beef) proved to be a very significant consequence with the environment. The demand to export and clear land have single-handedly combined the situation in land and atmosphere. Lastly, it is rooted in human activities that Australia’s natural resource may become depleted or finally “dead” if there is no urgency to act upon it. The assessment of the environmental globalization in Australia is basically a developmental stage and it is in accordance with the other countries’ opportunities to focus on achieving the fight against climate change.

References:

[1] Australian Government. 2016. “Facts about the great barrier reef.” Australian Governmetn Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/about-the-reef/facts-about-the-great-barrier-reef

[2] Tisdell, Clem. “AUSTRALIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: AN OVERVIEW” Department of Economics University of Queensland. Accessed November 9, 2016. https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:121816/VOL_30.pdf

[3] Newlands, Maxine. 2016. “Environmental Crisis: Uncertain Future of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.” Global Research. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://www.globalresearch.ca/environmental-crisis-uncertain-future-of-australias-great-barrier-reef/5535514

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid, Tisdell.

[6] Lowe, Ian. 2014. “The State of Australia.” The Conversation. Accessed November 9, 2016. http://theconversation.com/the-state-of-australia-our-environment-26035

[7] Minchin, Liz. 2014. “Australia trounced Kyoto climate target, new report reveals.” The Conversation. Accessed November 10, 2016. https://theconversation.com/australia-trounced-kyoto-climate-target-new-report-reveals-25744

[8] Australian Government. 2015. “Australia’s 2030 climate change target.” Australian government. Accessed November 9, 2016. https://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/publications/factsheet-australias-2030-climate-change-target

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4 thoughts on “Environmental Globalization in Australia

  1. The impact of Global warming and climate change can be seen clearly in Australai too as that of rest of rest of the world. The impact can be seen highly in sea reefs as its diying because of the global warming and also by oil spiling which are both caused by human beings. As the realization is felt now the world is making efforts to prevent these issues and can only hope it will give significant results realizing the needs of future generations.

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  2. This blog was a great analysis of environmental globalization in Australia. I think Australia has great potential and it is unfortunate that their natural wonders and resources. Australia is a prime example of how example of consumerism can greatly affect the environment. Hopefully the government will take a more active role in conservation.

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  3. It is interesting how your blog on this issue of global warming that Australia and many other countries faces today is now part of our course, and is taught in our Sustainable Development class by Dr. Frederick A. Swarts. With all the wealth that Australia has, they too are face with environmental issues that are not only bad for the people but can also affect the economic growth and development going forward. Your blog highlights many issues that scientist and government are not on the same path in working together, as each group viewed the evidences in a different light and as such making it harder to prove the case that global warming is a true environmental concern for the world.

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  4. Great analysis on the environment conditions in Australia. The country that enriched with biodiversity and natural resources still faces the effects global warming. They have many concerns about the environment, their great barrier has been damaged due to global warming, the have issues in marine conservation,endangered species, energy usage problems, land degradation, concerns about waterway health and holes created on the ozone layer are deeply affecting day-to-day lives of the poeple. I hope in time to come global community will take action to prevent this situation from getting worse and shift towards a sustainable environment.

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