4613.0 - Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, 2001
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/07/2001
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Our environment - a bird's eye view
Australians are among the highest consumers, and as a consequence, producers of waste on earth, using more energy than ever before - mostly from fossil fuels - while our land, air, forests and rivers are suffering. Yet, while most Australians are concerned about the environment, in 1999 only 9 per cent of adult Australians ranked environmental problems as their most important social issue.
These are some of many findings on Australia's environment, assembled in the first edition of a new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publication, Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends (cat. no. 4613.0), released today.
On the positive side:
But Australians consume more energy, products and services per person than ever before, with our rate of consumption rising.
The total energy used in 1998 (including exports of energy products, such as black coal and uranium) was 2.8 times the total energy used in 1978, when the population grew 1.3 times in the same period.
Most of our energy comes from fossil fuels, with oil, coal and gas providing 94 per cent of energy consumed in Australia: between 1990 and 1998 Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions rose by just under 17 percent.
Agriculture, which has profoundly altered Australia's landscape during the last 200 years, occupies around 60 per cent of the nation's land area. As a result of our activities, Australia is facing serious land degradation issues, such as weed invasion: there are about 3000 weed species in Australia, 370 of which are noxious. In 1999, dryland salinity affected 2.5 million hectares.
During the 1990s, national water consumption rose from 18,575 gigalitres in 1993-94 to 22,186 gigalitres in 1996-97. Meanwhile, the construction of large dams, introduction of exotic species, such as carp, land clearing, and extraction of water, have left many of our inland rivers in poor condition.
Some 97 per cent of the volume of trade in Australia is carried by ships, making Australian waters susceptible to introduction of exotic marine species. Already, at least 250 known species have been introduced .
More facts and figures reported in Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends (cat. no. 4613.0).
Further details can be found in Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends (cat. no. 4613.0) available from ABS bookshops. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication contact the ABS bookshop in your capital city.
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