Sunday, June 7, 2009

Australia's Emissions Are Still Increasing

Despite the attention this issue has been given in our current times Australia has yet to succeed in reducing it's emmissions.

Below is a Media Release from Senator the Hon Penny Wong - Minister for Climate Change and Water.

1st June, 2009


The latest National Greenhouse Accounts released today demonstrate the need to turn Australia’s emissions around, Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, said today. “The underlying trends show Australia’s carbon pollution is increasing – particularly in the energy sector,” Senator Wong said.

Over the four quarters to the December quarter of 2008, Australia’s national inventory1 was an estimated 553 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is an increase of 1.1 per cent compared with the corresponding period for the previous year.

“These results demonstrate the challenge of reducing emissions in all sectors of the economy,” Senator Wong said. “For example, the emissions from the energy sector have increased by 42 per cent from 1990 to 2007, and by another 1.5 per cent in 2008.

“To start to reverse this growth in our emissions, we need to drive investment in renewable energy and clean technology with the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.”

Preliminary estimates show that Australia’s emissions were around 1 per cent below the Kyoto target for 2008 or, equivalently, 107 per cent of the 1990 base period.

“Without the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, Australia’s emissions are expected to reach 120 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020. “But if the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is introduced, Australia’s emissions will be reduced by up to 25 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 if the world agrees to an ambitious global deal to stabilise levels of CO2 equivalent at 450 parts per million or lower.”

Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts comprise four annual reports. The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories and the National Inventory by Economic Sector report Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions using the accounting rules for the Kyoto Protocol emissions targets.

The National Inventory Report 2007 provides estimates of Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions for the period 1990-2007 and is submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as part of Australia’s reporting obligations under that Convention.

The National Inventory Report is prepared for the UNFCCC using different accounting rules to the Kyoto Protocol. The National Inventory Report shows an increase of 82 per cent in Australia’s emissions from 1990 to 2007 as a result of a temporary jump in emissions from grasslands and croplands due to widespread drought conditions.

“While this does not affect Australia’s Kyoto obligations, these figures highlight the importance of improving treatment of the land sector so that only anthropogenic emissions and removals are included towards mitigation commitments in any future global agreement,” Senator Wong said.

“Australia will continue to advocate strongly for any future agreement to treat the land sector in a comprehensive and integrated way with provisions for the treatment of natural disturbance and inter-annual climate variability.”

For more information and copies of the reports – or to access the online database – Australia’s Greenhouse Emissions Information System – visit

Click here to listen to Kelly Courts, WWF discuss this topic.

Find out the latest news from WWF at

The Carnaby Black Cockatoo

Conservation Status
Commonwealth: Endangered ( Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)WA: 'Specially protected fauna' ( Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950).

What do they look like?
This large black cockatoo (also known as the Short-billed Black-Cockatoo) has white tail panels, white cheek patches and a short bill. It lives only in southwest Australia where large-scale clearing for farming has fragmented much of its habitat, particularly mature eucalypts such as salmon gum and wandoo that have suitable hollows for nesting.

Where do they live?
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is endemic to southwest Western Australia, extending from the Murchison River to Esperance, and inland to Coroow, Kellerberrin and Lake Cronion.
Most breeding occurs in areas with an average annual rainfall of 300-750 mm, typically in the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions. For nesting, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos require eucalypt woodland, comprising principally of salmon gum or wandoo. Their food is found in shrubland, or kwongan heath.
The cockatoos require a close association between breeding and feeding sites during the breeding season. If these two very different habitats are not within a reasonable distance of each other, breeding attempts fail. After breeding, the cockatoos move to higher rainfall areas along the coast in search of food sources such as banksia and hakea heathlands.

What do they eat?
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos feed on the seeds of a variety of native and introduced plant species and on insect larvae. Plants include kwongan heath plants such banksias, dryandra, hakea, grevillea and also marri seeds. They have also adapted to feeding on exotic species such as pines and cape lilac and some weeds such as wild radish and wild geranium.

How many are there?
It is difficult to know how many Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos are left, but it is known that their populations have declined by over 50% in the past 45 years, and that they no longer breed in up to a third of their former breeding sites in the Wheatbelt.
They are gregarious birds and live in pairs or small flocks during the breeding season. After fledging, the young move with their parents from breeding areas to feeding areas where other family groups join the flock.
The cockatoos live for 40-50 years in the wild. A large proportion of the remaining population now is past breeding age. When these older birds die, there will be very few younger birds to take their place.

What is threatening them?
There are a number of threats facing Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo:
1. Habitat fragmentation, particularly in the northern and eastern areas of the Wheatbelt. Most habitat suitable for breeding and feeding in the Wheatbelt has been cleared entirely or fragmented. In addition, clearing of heathland surrounding breeding sites has reduced the survival rate of fledglings by decreasing the available food sources for the young
2. Removal of nest hollows for use as firewood or just to make properties look 'tidy'. Much woodland lacks hollows, and it takes over 100 years for woodland seedlings to mature and form hollows suitable for nesting
3. Competition for hollows from other species
4. Loss of native food sources caused by urban development on the Swan coastal plain
5. Poaching: illegal poaching is still a threat - trees are often cut down or the hollow severely damaged when young and eggs are taken, removing breeding sites
6. Invasive species: other bird species such as the Galah and the Western Long-billed Corella are extending their range in the Wheatbelt and are competing with and excluding Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos from traditional nest hollows.

Conservation Action
Birds Australia (WA) is leading a recovery program that assists rural communities in the management of breeding populations of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo and implementing suitable recovery actions. These recovery actions include protection of existing breeding and feeding sites, revegetation, the development of corridors between breeding and feeding sites, repair of old and damaged hollows and control of competitor species, such as feral bees.
Much effort by local community groups and school children has been put into planting feeding and nesting trees. A community group named 'Men of the Trees' received a Threatened Species Network Community Grant to help re-establish habitat for the cockatoo in the Northern Wheatbelt Region of WA. This project will also trial the effectiveness of nest boxes when hollows are not available for nesting.

Did you know...
1. Male Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos feed the female at her nest during the incubation period and fly over 12km to ensure she gets the food she needs during nesting
2. The cockatoos rarely use the same hollow to nest in if the breeding attempt the previous season was unsuccessful
3. The birds display strong bonds with their partners throughout their adult life
4. If two eggs are produced, the second egg is laid two to eight days after the first egg
5. The cockatoos can live for 40 to 50 years in the wild.

How you can help
- Protect existing hollows
- Protect remnant vegetation and banksia heathlands that support cockatoos
- Revegetate habitats

Click here to listen to the interview with Michael Roach, Threatened Species.

For the latest news on the WWF, please visit their website at

The African Dog

The African wild dog, also called Cape hunting dog or painted dog, typically roams the open plains and sparse woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa.These long-legged canines have only four toes per foot, unlike other dogs, which have five toes on their forefeet.

The dog's Latin name means "painted wolf," referring to the animal's irregular, mottled coat, which features patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur. Each animal has its own unique coat pattern, and all have big, rounded ears.

African wild dogs live in packs that are usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair. The female has a litter of 2 to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack. These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. Social interactions are common, and the dogs communicate by touch, actions, and vocalizations.African wild dogs hunt in formidable, cooperative packs of 6 to 20 (or more) animals. Larger packs were more common before the dogs became endangered. Packs hunt antelopes and will also tackle much larger prey, such as wildebeests, particularly if their quarry is ill or injured. The dogs supplement their diet with rodents and birds.

As human settlements expand, the dogs have sometimes developed a taste for livestock, though significant damage is rare. Unfortunately, they are often hunted and killed by farmers who fear for their domestic animals.

African hunting dogs are endangered. They are faced with shrinking room to roam in their African home. They are also quite susceptible to diseases spread by domestic animals.

Click here to find out more about the African Dog.

To find out the latest news from Zoos Victoria, please visit

Talking Turtles

Six of the seven species of marine turtles are listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered, and the outlook is increasingly grim. In the Pacific, leatherbacks are heading for extinction, fast, and in the Mediterranean, green turtle numbers have plummeted.All seven species of marine turtles are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), thus international trade is prohibited amongst the 166 CITES member nations. Three of them are classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN RedList.

Many offspring, few survivors
Marine turtles appear to have the potential to reproduce abundantly: females can lay hundreds of eggs in one nesting season. But even under "natural" conditions, relatively few young turtles survive their first year of life.Predators such as crabs, foxes, and birds often kill the hatchlings as they make their way from the nest to the sea, and when they reach the shallows, many more small turtles are taken by fish. When humans harvest turtle eggs, disturb or degrade nesting beaches, the scales become tipped even more heavily against young turtles.Decades to reach maturityIt takes decades for surviving juveniles to reach maturity and start to breed, and adult turtles must live to reproduce over many years if the population is to thrive. But escalating mortality on the high seas, in the nets and long-lines of fishing fleets, and from pollution and disease, means fewer and fewer turtles are living long enough to reproduce.Protection vital at all stages of the life cycle. Effective conservation means protecting turtles at all stages of their life cycle. Protecting nesting beaches calls for action at the local level, and protecting juvenile and adult turtles in oceanic waters calls for enforceable international agreements.

It can work: in the Gulf of Mexico thirty years of conservation is helping Kemp's ridley turtle to make a slow comeback. For other species, however, time is running out.

The objectives of WWF's Global Marine Turtle Programme are to reduce:
1. the loss and degradation of critical marine turtle habitats;
2. the negative impact of bycatch on marine turtles;
3. unsustainable use and illegal trade in marine turtles and turtle products.

To reach these objectives, WWF is working around the world to conserve marine turtles by:
1. Establishing and strengthening protected areas around nesting beaches
2. Raising awareness and promoting ecotourism at marine turtle sites, so that local communities become involved in and benefit from protecting turtles and their nests
3. Promoting regional and international agreements to conserve marine turtles.
4. Lobbying for turtle-friendly fishing practices, such as the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in nets.
5. Halting the illegal trade of turtle meat and eggs, though TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring arm of WWF and IUCN.

A live turtle is worth more than a dead turtle
Marine turtles are economically important to humans. Coastal communities in developing countries use marine turtles as a source for food. Also, the catch of fish and invertebrates that are used for human consumption or commerce ultimately depend on healthy marine turtle populations.In recent years, marine turtles have become increasingly important as an ecotourism attraction. This has led to a rise in tourism operations that in turn provide jobs and income to seaside communities throughout the tropical and subtropical part of the world. Marine turtle watching increases people's interest in marine and coastal issues and inspires commitment to support conservation efforts. Marine turtles are flagship species that attract help to themselves as well as to the many species with which they co-exist.

Click here to listen to the interview with Samantha Vine from WWF.

Symbolically adopting a turtle will help the WWF with their work. Click here to adopt now.

To find out more about the WWF, please visit

Climate Change in 2009

Climate Change was an issue in 2008 and will continue to be one in 2009. Adam Barralet took the time to chat with Greenpeace's Climate and Energy Campaigner, Trish Harrup about what still needs to be done.

Click here to listen to the interview.

For the latest news from Greenpeace, please visit

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Update from The Wilderness Society in Bonn, Germany - 6.6.2009

Gemma Tillack, Climate Change and Forests Campaigner for The Wilderness Society is currently in Bonn, Germany where representatives from countries around the world are meeting to draft and prepare agreements for the upcoming meetings in Copenhagen.

Click here to listen to the interview.

For more information, please visit and