In the 5 years since SoE 2011, international climate science has advanced significantly. The IPCC, operating under the United Nations, is the leading international scientific body for the assessment of climate change.
Forests and woodlands together represent about 16 per cent of the area of the Australian continent (124.7 million hectares); of this, 41 per cent is in Queensland, 18 per cent in New South Wales, 15 per cent in Western Australia and 12 per cent in the Northern Territory (
The past decade has been the most dynamic and significant in modern Australia’s water history. It has been a period of ambitious water policy reform at the same time as the worst and longest droughts Australia has ever seen.
As previously noted, air quality in Australia’s urban areas is strongly influenced by short-term meteorology (including extreme events), seasonal conditions, local topography and distance from the sea.
At the national level, the Council of Australian Governments’ Standing Council on Environment and Water (previously the Environment Protection and Heritage Council) meets regularly to deal with issues of common concern, including ambient air quality.
Although air pollution can harm vegetation, erode the facades of historic stone buildings and limit visibility, the main focus of public concern over air pollution is its short-term and long-term effects on human health.
The Antarctic Treaty and related instruments of the Antarctic Treaty System provide the international framework for management of the Antarctic region. From the 12 original signatories (including Australia) in 1959, membership of the treaty has now grown to 48 countries.
Australia State of the Environment 2016 has been prepared by independent experts using the best available information to support assessments of environmental condition, pressures, management effectiveness, resilience, risks and outlook.
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We, the authors, acknowledge the traditional owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community; we pay respect to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.