1003.0 - LEP Newsletter (Issue No. 44), May 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/07/2003   
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Measuring Australia's environmental challenges - Environment by Numbers

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recently released
Environment by Numbers - a collection of articles on sustainability and the environment. Topics covered include climate change, Australia's rivers, renewable energy, forest conservation, salinity, and the impact of transport, construction, fishing, mining, manufacturing and agriculture on the environment.

It provides an overview of ABS environment statistics by offering information about a lot of areas related to the environment, compared with Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends (cat. no. 4613.0) which has more detailed information on fewer selected issues.

Environment by Numbers: Selected Articles on Australia's Environment (cat. no. 4617.0) is available on eLEP and AusStats or for request by Core List LEP libraries.

Some of the findings included in the publication are:

  • Australians have become less concerned about environmental problems. In 1992, three out of four Australians expressed concern, but this fell to 62% in 2001. The decline was most pronounced among young Australians aged 18-24; only 57% expressed concern compared to 79% in 1992.
  • The area of irrigated land has increased Between 1990 and 2000 the area of irrigated land increased by more than half a million hectares (30%). The growth in irrigated area was greatest in Queensland, where an additional 236,000 ha (or 76%) were irrigated in 2000, compared to the area irrigated in 1990.
  • Wind energy is the fastest developing renewable energy source. Australia has among the best wind resources in the world and wind energy has become the cheapest renewable energy technology. Its use is expected to grow by 25% a year up to 2020, compared to 2.3% growth for total energy consumption.