Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Australia.
Australia continues to be a surprising laggard- brushing away evidence of climate change despite permanently altered rainfall patterns in the southeast of the country, a seven year drought and devastating bush fires in early 2020. Current political leadership is heavily influenced by the financial clout of mining magnates such as Rinehart via the influential right wing think tank Institute of Public Affairs. Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to deny that climate change is a man made problem. Australia is a depressing example of political leadership ignoring the long term interests of its citizens in favour of short term political gain.
- Australia’s Paris Agreement target is a 26-28% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, however according to the Climate Action Tracker, under current policies, emissions are headed for an increase of 8% above 2005 levels by 2030.
- Emissions have increased by around 1% per year on average since 2014, the year in which Australia’s national carbon pricing scheme was repealed.
- The Australian government has dismissed the findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, discontinued its funding to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and ignored the call by the UN Secretary General and its Pacific Island neighbours to increase its climate action.
- The State of South Australia has a 100% renewable by 2030 target, while Victoria has legislated a net zero emissions by 2050 target and the ACT has legislated a target to be net zero by 2045.
- Australia intends to meet its climate commitments by relying on carry over units from the Kyoto Protocol.
- The government continues to extend the lifetime of old coal plants
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.