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Climate change the top challenge for Australia, say scientists and managers

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Zuleika Henderson
Published
8 April 2011
Early results from a new online survey show that climate change is the number one concern for Australian environmental scientists and managers.

The survey, being conducted by Southern Cross University’s Environmental Innovations Research Centre, asked environmental scientists and managers from institutions around the country what they thought were the greatest environmental challenges facing Australia over the next ten years.

Climate change tops the list for the majority, while other high ranking concerns include population growth, energy, water, land degradation and loss of biodiversity.

“This survey highlights the tensions between maintaining current levels of production and consumption while protecting scarce resources and ecosystem services,” said Professor Bill Boyd, director of the Environmental Innovations Research Centre.

“Other responses express concern that Australia does not have strategies to accommodate future energy needs while reducing our carbon footprint.”

The new survey, targeted at those involved in managing the environment, contrasts with findings from surveys of the general Australian population which have shown some decline in concern over climate change.

“It is important we don’t simply keep measuring the decline of species and resources, but that we find a way for Australia to move towards a sustainable future,” said Professor Boyd.

“We need to find ways to work together to develop an innovative approach to solving future environmental concerns with our scientists, governments and the community. Climate change and concerns over water, energy and resource security are very good motivators to change our practice, and this is the greatest challenge of all.”

The survey closes in May and full results will be presented at the Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges Conference (ISEC 2011) to be held at Southern Cross University in June.

Photo: Professor Bill Boyd (high resolution image available on request)

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