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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Australia 2019

image of OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Australia 2019

Australia has managed to decouple economic growth from the main environmental pressures and has made impressive progress in expanding protected areas. However, it is one of the most resource- and carbon-intensive OECD countries, and the state of its biodiversity is poor and worsening.  Advancing towards a greener economy will require strengthening climate-change policy and mainstreaming biodiversity more effectively across sectors.

This is the third Environmental Performance Review of Australia. It evaluates progress towards sustainable development and green growth, and includes special features on threatened species protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and chemical management.

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Executive summary

Australia is among the top ten largest greenhouse gas emitters in the OECD. Over the past decade, it has managed to decouple GDP growth from the main environmental pressures. However, it has one of the most resource- and carbon-intensive OECD economies. Despite the increasing use of natural gas and renewable energy sources, the electricity mix remains heavily reliant on coal. Australia surpassed its Kyoto 2008-12 target and is on track to reach its 2020 climate target. Still, it needs to intensify efforts to reach its Paris Agreement goal. Adopting an integrated energy and climate policy framework for 2030 with an emission reduction goal for the power sector would avoid the projected rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Developing a long-term low-emission strategy, as Australia has committed to do, will help drive the transition.

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