Earth day 22 April governments & oppositions ignore the spirit of earth day

22 April 2012

Media Releases 2012

With two months to go before the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the Federal Government and Opposition should embrace the spirit of Earth Day on 22 April and commit themselves to environmental sustainability, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

Sunday is the 42nd anniversary of the first Earth Day, founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson to promote conservation and concern for the environment. Initially US-based, in 1990 Earth Day went global, helping to pave the way for the first United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Acting National President of SPA, Dr John Coulter, criticised both the Government and Opposition for their failure to either understand or commit to environmental sustainability.

“By almost every measure our Governments pursue ‘business as usual’ and ignore the urgent need to change direction toward environmental sustainability. They cannot get non-renewable resources – like coal and iron ore – out of the ground and exported fast enough,” says Dr Coulter. “They pay lip service to climate change by introducing a carbon tax yet the coal the Government hopes to export will have over 11 times the emissions that will be saved by the carbon tax.”

Dr Coulter also criticised both major parties for failure to understand and plan for peak oil.

“Conventional oil peaked in 2006. To maintain current supply we are increasingly dependent on unconventional, potentially environmentally damaging and expensive oil such as that extracted from tar sands and shale, or from deep-water and the Arctic. A suppressed Government report found that irrespective of what we do, oil supplies will decline and oil will become more expensive post 2015. We need to rapidly wean ourselves off oil. And yet the Government plans a second airport for Sydney at the very time that the viability of air transport is questioned.

“The Government’s already weak commitment to lowering greenhouse emissions will be compromised by its commitment to population growth. Any reductions in per capita water use or carbon emissions will be totally eroded by government promoted population growth.”

“Climate change means increasing frequency of severe weather events such as droughts and floods. These threaten our food security; further population growth ignores this threat.”

Further information: John Coulter, National Vice President, Sustainable Population Australia

Tel: 08 8388 2153

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