1. State of the Environment 2016
The government has produced the latest State of the Environment Report 2016 which happens every five years. I’ve browsed the report and can say that it has some magnificent photographs.
According to the ABS Australia’s population will be between 36.8 million and 48.3 million in 2066 as against 24 million now. The report says that the key drivers of environmental change are population growth and economic activity.
The report says that it is possible to decouple these drivers from environmental harm, but it’s a possibility only. Sue Arnold, following Ted Trainer and Sustainable Australia suggests that we have already breached our carrying capacity.
- With no value attributed to wildlife, clean water, healthy forests and marine ecosystems, the SER is an inadequate document.
Of all countries we have the 13th highest ecological footprint globally. If everyone did it our way the planet would fry.
I did see at least one sentence on the Great Barrier Reef.
Here’s Bondi Beach, which is great apart from all the people:
2. It’s build or sink in the Maldives
China is not the only one building new islands. The Maldives is doing it too. Apparently the highest point in the Maldives is 2.5 metres above sea level. They are now building new islands with three-metre walls. Eight have been built, and three more planned. One called Hulhumale, near the capital Male, contains the City of Hope. When finished in 2023 it will be able to accommodate 130,000 people.
Of course you can’t build new islands amongst coral reefs without causing some damage.
3. Arctic ice maximum lowest on record
The winter maximum for the Arctic ice is usually around this time of the year. It has maxed at a new record:
- On March 7, 2017, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.42 million square kilometers (5.57 million square miles), the lowest in the 38-year satellite record. This year’s maximum extent is 1.22 million square kilometers (471,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 97,000 square kilometers (37,000 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred on February 25, 2015.
The last three years are the lowest on record.
4. Antarctic ice obliterates record
Meanwhile at the other end of the globe, sea ice extent is meant to be growing. It hit a record high in 2014. This year, however, it appears to have lost the script, and hit a record low.
It was 10 per cent below the previous record.
- “[Sea-ice] variability was typical of what we’d seen for the whole period [since 1979], but then along came 2016,” said Ian Simmonds, from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. “It’s remarkable.”
The average ice coverage around Antarctica last year shrank 1.2 million square kilometres – or about the size of NSW, Tasmania and Victoria – compared with 2015, he said.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether it was just an anomaly, or a trend change.
5. The Oz ignores Great Barrier Reef bleaching
Recent coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef has been noted by the media around the world. Media Watch has noted, however, that The Australian can’t or won’t see it. Their silence speaks volumes.