ENVIRONMENT

ENVIRONMENT

Background:
Sustainable Australia is sometimes asked how our community party differs from The Greens party. Apart from Sustainable Australia being a party of the political centre, a further fundamental difference is our strong view that Australia cannot secure a healthy environment without a meaningful sustainable population policy. If we are to lower our total environmental impact, as we must, we need to both lower our per capita environmental impact, and stabilise population. Like climate change, we need to 'think global, act local' on population.

Also see 'Closing the sustainability loop' by our party founder William Bourke: CLICK HERE

Policy
Australia should prioritise ecological sustainability and better protect, manage and restore its fragile and unique natural environment, not only for the health and wellbeing of the humans and biodiversity within it, but for its own intrinsic worth.

Policy Methods (Federal & State)
To help achieve this Australia should:

  • Invest more in environmental education and the protection, maintenance and ecological restoration of the natural environment.
  • Provide increased employment, training and volunteer opportunities in conservation management, including via an enhanced national ‘sustainability army’. This would particularly help revitalise regional, rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Transition away from logging of native forests and into greater reliance on plantation timbers, subject to better landscape planning, the use of higher value products, and tree-use diversification such as agro-forestry and mixed tree species planting.
  • Not accredit Australian native forests or its waste to be burnt for biomass power as a ’renewable energy‘ source under the Renewable Energy Target.
  • Subject all Regional Forest Agreements to the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Commonwealth) to ensure all forestry is subject to the usual environmental and planning approval requirements.
  • End broadscale land clearing in Australia and initiate a nationwide ecological restoration program to rehabilitate degraded lands.
  • Better manage our water security including water tables, including through lower wastage and fairer water rights and responsibilities in regional Australia.
  • Achieve a sustainable population with lower immigration (not meaning refugees).(1)
  • Contribute to staying below 1.5 degrees global temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels (2), by lowering greenhouse gas emissions by at least 19 per cent compared with 2000 levels by 2020, and by at least 80 per cent compared with 2000 levels by 2050. This should include:
    • Funding and subsidising research and development into renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency initiatives.
    • Achieving a sustainable population with slower growth (mainly via lower immigration - not meaning refugees) and encourage Australians to reduce their individual carbon footprint.(3)
    • Vigorously lobbying other nations to ensure fair and reasonable global action on greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Adopting a renewable energy target (RET) of at least 41,000 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of Australia's electricity consumption by 2020 (an estimated 27 per cent), and up to 100 per cent by 2050.
    • Adopting a carbon pricing mechanism that does not unfairly penalise trade-exposed Australian industries.
    • Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies (excluding the Diesel Fuel Rebate).
    • Impose a moratorium on all new export-based coal mines in Australia.
    • Considering all energy production options to deliver our climate policy targets and ultimately an emissions-free Australian energy supply (see ENERGY policy).
  • Significantly reduce its waste production and disposal, and increase its waste recycling and energy recovery. This should include:
    • Achieving better product design and standards in order to reduce materials usage, and improve longevity, repairability, re-usability and recycling capacity.
    • Achieving greater producer responsibility throughout product life cycles.
    • Establishing a national ‘sustainable design and development’ centre of excellence, with public-private partnership funding.
    • Supporting major community centres dedicated to the repair, re-sale and responsible recycling of electronic waste and household goods, with public-private partnership funding.
    • Providing widely available container deposit schemes.
    • Encouraging the recovery of embodied energy from appropriate low-risk waste while offsetting the use of non-renewable energy sources and avoiding methane emissions from landfill.

Related policies

  • Also see other environment-related policies including ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS, ANIMALS & BIODIVERSITY, ENERGY, FINITE & NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE USE, SUSTAINABLE POPULATION & IMMIGRATION, PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT and TRANSPORT.

Footnotes:

  1. Population growth is a "key threatening process" to Australia's biodiversity, as recognised by the Australian Conservation Foundation: CLICK HERE
  2. Sustainable Australia supports the science that humans are contributing to climate change. To this end, our Australian greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets are adopted from recommendations by the Climate Change Authority.
  3. Population growth undermines efforts to lower carbon emissions: CLICK HERE

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