Dbytes #500 (3 November 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Agriculture and mining have an enormous impact on Australia’s unique environment. Yet it is mining who has the biggest interaction with the EPBC Act. A review by the former head of National Farmers Federation Wendy Craik found that farmers currently have little interaction with the EPBC Act. Of the 6,000 referrals made between 2000 and 2018 only 165 related to agriculture and only 2 of these were rejected.”
Amelia Young, TWS, in
Barnaby Joyce’s net-zero EPBC bid a sovereign risk to Australia’s biodiversity and a poison chalice for agriculture sector


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage
2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance
3. Building Australia’s natural capital
4. Draft NSW Government park management plan ‘flawed’ and ignores damage caused by feral horses
5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning
6. Governments need to address inevitable risks of losses and damages from climate change, says OECD
7. Measuring wellbeing

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1. Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage

The ANAO’s recent coverage of environmental matters as part of its performance audit program has highlighted several themes across the Australian Government’s delivery of programs and regulatory functions. The ANAO’s performance audits have identified:
– weaknesses in management of probity and conflicts of interest;
– variability in the maturity of risk-based frameworks for the delivery of regulatory functions; and
– scope to improve performance measurement frameworks to determine the impact and effectiveness of the Australian Government’s environmental programs and regulatory functions.

Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage | Australian National Audit Office (anao.gov.au)

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2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance

Forget the Anthropocene – Australia’s ‘bold plan’ for net zero by 2050 marks the beginning of an amazing new geological epoch: The Absurdicene, the age where the ridiculous and the self-serving trumps evidence and science. As our children are discovering, it’s not a great time for hope.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Building Australia’s natural capital

Nature can be protected and restored through improved measurement and investment.

Building Australia’s natural capital – ClimateWorks (climateworksaustralia.org)

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4. Draft NSW Government park management plan ‘flawed’ and ignores damage caused by feral horses

An open letter to the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean published today calls on the NSW Government to work towards removing all feral horses from every NSW protected area. The letter from the Australian Academy of Science has 69 signatories including Fellows of the Academy, other researchers and seven science organisations. It says all feral horses must be removed to protect the native Australian plants, animals and ecosystems of Kosciuszko National Park and other national parks affected by feral horses in NSW, such as Barrington Tops, Guy Fawkes, Oxley Wild Rivers and the Blue Mountains.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/draft-nsw-government-park-management-plan-flawed-ignores-damage-caused-by-feral-horses

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5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning

Following major bushfires in the past twenty years, public and political attention has been drawn to the potential for fuel reduction burning to reduce bushfire risk and damage. This paper provides a major update to a 2002 Parliamentary Library publication examining the issue. It incorporates the findings of recent research and the numerous inquiries published since then.

Bushfires and fuel reduction burning – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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6. Governments need to address inevitable risks of losses and damages from climate change, says OECD

The Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages report says the risks of further impacts on economies, ecosystems, businesses and people are unavoidable and will increase with the extent of warming. These risks are unevenly distributed across countries and people, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable, which is a compelling reason to act now. These risks flow from three types of climate hazards, each subject to uncertainties: increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, more gradual changes, such as sea level rises, and from the potentially dramatic global effects of crossing critical thresholds in the climate system. The risk of losses and damages depends not only on the hazards but also on the exposure and vulnerability of people, assets and ecosystems to those hazards.

https://www.oecd.org/environment/governments-need-to-address-inevitable-risks-of-losses-and-damages-from-climate-change.htm

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7. Measuring wellbeing

When economists evaluate a project or a policy, the way we measure benefits is essentially aimed at measuring the effect on human wellbeing. However, the way we do it treats wellbeing as a black box.

355. Wellbeing – Pannell Discussions

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

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