The poor and rapidly deteriorating health of Australia’s environment outlined in the five-yearly State of the Environment report lays down a marker for radical and urgent action to change the course and save our precious environment and way of life, Greenpeace Australia Pacific says.

The report – which was completed in December but delayed under the Morrison government – found every category except urban environments had deteriorated since the last report in 2016, including coral reefs and the species that rely on them, inland water, coasts, air quality, and extreme events [1].

David Ritter, Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, said the State of the Environment report lays down the marker for radical, urgent climate action by a new government with a mandate for change. 

“These confronting results are no accident. The former federal Coalition government had effectively declared a war on the environment. 

“This report is the consequence of years of perverse political decision-making that has put the vested interests of polluting corporations and environmental vandals ahead of the best interests of the Australian people and our magnificent natural environment. 

“With the overdue publication of this wrongly withheld report, the Albanese government has a new basis on which to act. This situation has been long in the making but the new government was elected to decisively and urgently change course.

“Australia voted for real climate action at the recent federal election and the disastrous picture outlined in the State of the Environment report adds further weight to that mandate.

“The state of Australia’s environment demands urgent and decisive emissions reduction, an end to new fossil fuel extraction, and rapid acceleration of the shift to cleaner, cheaper renewable energy. 

“The report reveals in painful detail the damage climate change is wreaking on almost every part of our environment, including our fragile marine environment and precious reefs. Climate change has been clearly identified as the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef. 

“Earlier this year, the IPCC’s Working Group II report warned coral reefs are already at their adaptation limits and will not be able to withstand further pressure from rising ocean temperatures caused by burning fossil fuels. In order to give our reefs a fighting chance at survival we need rapid, deep cuts to emissions and no new fossil fuel projects.”