28. October 2021

Warning to Australia as UN talks tackle biodiversity crisis


Environment teams have warned Australia has extra at stake than most different nations if essential United Nations talks on biodiversity this week fail to attain settlement on how to halt the destruction of nature.

Known informally as “the other COP”, this week’s UN biodiversity convention runs alongside the local weather change assembly recognized as COP26 in Glasgow on the finish of this month.

Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley will face robust worldwide strain to help targets being thrashed out on the assembly, with world biodiversity loss on the highest charge in human historical past.

A turtle on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

A turtle on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.Credit:Getty Images

Australia is seen as a “global pariah” on biodiversity safety, says Brendan Wintle, an skilled in conservation ecology from the University of Melbourne.

Professor Wintle, who can be director of the nationwide Threatened Species Recovery Hub, mentioned Australia had signed up to targets however failed to stop biodiversity loss and extinction as a result of it didn’t adequately useful resource the restoration of threatened species or shield habitat.

Since 2000, and the introduction of a nationwide surroundings act, Australia has cleared 7.2 million hectares of threatened species habitat, largely for agricultural use.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen.

Professor Wintle estimated Australia wants to spend $1.5 billion to $2 billion a 12 months to halt biodiversity decline. In comparability, Australians spend about $12 billion a 12 months on their pets.

“We can afford it, but we’re not doing it, and that’s on our leadership and our society,” he mentioned.


A coalition of about 70 nations co-chaired by Costa Rica and France – recognized as the High Ambition Coalition – has championed a world push to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, together with supporting a goal of conserving or defending not less than 30 per cent of world land, and the identical share of the oceans, by 2030.

Australia has dedicated to this world goal however not made a country-specific pledge, and surroundings advocates say this might imply it avoids main motion, significantly if different nations do extra.

A spokesperson for Ms Ley mentioned Australia was dedicated to finalising an formidable world biodiversity framework. “Australia fully supports a High Ambition Coalition global target of protecting 30 per cent of the world’s land and 30 per cent of the world’s oceans to support biodiversity as part of that vision,” they mentioned.

Australia is without doubt one of the most biologically various nations on the planet. It is dwelling to greater than 1 million species of crops and animals and fewer than half have been described scientifically.

Australian Conservation Foundation nature campaigner Nat Pelle mentioned Australia had extra at stake than most different nations due to its plethora of distinctive creatures and fragile landscapes.

“We should decide as a planet – and Australia especially – not to allow threatened species to become extinct,” he mentioned.

Critically endangered flora and fauna in Australia include the Mt Cole grevillea, the glossy black cockatoo, the  masked owl, the Burrunan dolphin and the black falcon.

Critically endangered natural world in Australia embrace the Mt Cole grevillea, the shiny black cockatoo, the masked owl, the Burrunan dolphin and the black falcon.Credit:Jo Gay

Wilderness Society spokesperson Tim Beshara mentioned in future, buyers will in all probability count on companies to be more and more clear about biodiversity impacts.

Banks would possibly rethink lending to farmers who’re bulldozing bushland or partaking with mining firms having a detrimental impact on the surroundings, he mentioned.

“Biodiversity is undoubtedly more complex than climate, but that doesn’t give us a free pass to doing nothing about it.”

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