SYDNEY, AAP – Climate change has pushed temperatures in NSW 1.1C higher than last century but greenhouse gas emissions are dropping.
The latest State of The Environment report issued by the NSW Environment Protection Authority on Thursday found greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 17 per cent compared to 2005.
The report also found the share of wind and solar in the electricity mix more than doubled over the past five years.
But it warned the “effects of climate change are already evident”.
“These will become broader and intensify in the future.”
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The EPA’s acting chief executive officer Jacqueleine Moore said the in-depth study looks at 22 topics with input from 11 government bodies.
“The latest instalment of this three-yearly report captures the impact of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires and the drought which damaged our native animal numbers, water quality and air quality, and topsoil.
“And for the first time we have introduced input from traditional knowledge holders to ensure a First Nations perspective is captured in the latest report.”
When it comes to flora and fauna, the picture is grim.
The number of threatened species in NSW continues to rise with more than 1000 native plant and animal species and 112 ecological communities listed as threatened under state legislation due to extensive land clearing.
Another key finding is 62 per cent of vegetation in the fire zone is under pressure from too much burning since the 2019 bushfires.
Permanent clearing of native woody vegetation in NSW has increased about three-fold since 2015 and stands at an average of 35,000 hectares cleared each year, the report said.
The 124-page report noted the rate of sea level rise has nearly doubled from 1.7 millimetres for most of the 20th century to 3.4 millimetres from 1991 onwards.