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Report lists Australia as one of the more was -

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Report lists Australia as one of the more wasteful nations

AM - Friday, 22 October , 2004 08:20:00

Reporter: Sarah Clarke

TONY EASTLEY: Australia has been named amongst the world's worst offenders in devouring natural
resources.

The Living Planet report commissioned by the Worldwide Fund for Nature reveals Australians use more
than seven-and-a-half hectares per person - that's worse than all European, Asian and African
nations.

Globally the snapshot shows that the human race is outstripping the planet faster than it can
reproduce, but critics of the report say its findings are "gimmicky".

Environment Reporter Sarah Clarke reports.

SARAH CLARKE: The report assessed how much space a country needs to absorb the waste it makes,
produce the food it wants to eat and provide space for infrastructure. And according to this global
snapshot Australia is the fourth worst offender in the world and is using its resources faster than
it can replace them.

Greg Bourne is the new CEO at the Worldwide Fund for Nature, which commissioned the report.

GREG BOURNE: In Australia for example, we are consuming around about three-and-a-half times the
average of the world population. That's enormous, absolutely enormous, we have to find ways to
reduce our ecological footprint.

SARAH CLARKE: Contributing to this is the fact that Australia is one of the biggest consumers of
fossil fuels. The report calculated that four hectares per person is needed to absorb the amount of
carbon dioxide we produce, given we're one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions per
capita in the world.

GREG BOURNE: We need to move to a lighter hydrocarbon economy, we need to use more gas, and
certainly within Australia, we definitely need to be using more gas as we transition towards
renewable energies. That will take a long time but we need to be starting now.

SARAH CLARKE: But the fossil fuel industry has been quick to bite back.

CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia Mitch Hooke says the industry is already doing its best to
make the transition, but the goals must be realistic.

MITCH HOOKE: Quite unfair. Australia is right on track to meet its commitments under the Kyoto
protocol. We're on track to meet our targets. It doesn't tell us much more about the achievement of
countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on breakthrough technologies. That's where the
focus ought to be.

SARAH CLARKE: On a global scale, the state of our planet is not looking good. The report indicates
humans are now consuming 20 per cent more natural resources than the earth can produce and the
global populations of plant and animal species has fallen an average by 40 per cent over the last
30 years.

But some see a clear solution. Jenny Goldie is from the group, Sustainable Population Australia.

JENNY GOLDIE: Population growth is to blame for a lot of it. Not all of it, of course, but a
significant amount and what comes out very strongly in this Living Planet report is the need to
reduce population and I think that some people like David Pimental of Cornell have said that the
world can really only support 2 billion people. And currently we're up to over 6 billion.

TONY EASTLEY: Jenny Goldie, from Sustainable Population Australia ending that report from Sarah
Clarke.

(c) 2006 ABC