Qld: the state most responsible

Today’s delayed release of the 2021 State of the Environment report places Queensland in the frame as “the state most responsible” for climate change and habitat loss. These are the two great threats to Australia’s environment.

This report makes it clear that climate change is impacting Australia’s environment, and our people, with the situation classified as poor and deteriorating. Queensland must do more to reduce climate pollution. We have the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world, and we are responsible for 31% of Australia’s total emissions. Our energy and land use sectors are particularly high emitters, with electricity generation emitting 64.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, and Land use and forestry emitting 16.3 million tonnes.

“Queensland’s emissions make it the state most responsible for addressing climate change.” said Dave Copeman, Director of Queensland Conservation Council. We also have the most to lose, with increased water temperatures due to climate change and driving repeated mass bleachings events of the Great Barrier Reef.

"This report is a clear indication that the Queensland Government must lift its inadequate 30% by 2030 emissions reductions target. This target is woefully inadequate, not in line with climate science, and will lead to more damage to Queensland's environment as documented in the State of the Environment report.


Queensland's out of control deforestation is also a disaster for the Australian environment. The State of the Environment report makes it clear that habitat loss is the key driver of extinction and biodiversity loss, with an 8% increase in threatened species since the 2016 report. 

Deforestation is at a record scale in Queensland, with 680,688 hectares of trees and woody vegetation cleared in the most recent satellite reports.  “We are the state most responsible for habitat loss.”

Deforestation is a key driver of the extinction crisis that faces 205 of Queensland’s threatened species, including the koala and greater glider. Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent.

Queensland’s beef industry is the driver of deforestation in Australia, with 93% of the most recently documented clearing being for grazing. The Queensland Government has not referred any deforestation by graziers to the Commonwealth Government for federal environmental review.

Lead Author Prof Emma Johnston from Sydney University has said that one of the most “fixable” problems was land clearing. Approvals for removing vegetation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act could and should look at the cumulative effects of the activity, rather than be considered “development by development,” she said.