The environmental situation is not looking up in the land down under, according to a new report commissioned by a consortium of conservation organizations. Noting such environmental problems as loss of species and their habitats, degradation of inland waters, and high pollution levels from the burning of fossil fuels, the report calls Australia “a continent in reverse” and says government inaction is to blame. Written by Peter Christoff of Melbourne University, the report is designed to counter one the government will present at the World Summit on Sustainable Development next week in Johannesburg. Christoff said the official report overstates claims of environmental improvement. Meanwhile, the Australian government dismissed Christoff’s report — and, indeed, any suggestion of less-than-stellar environmental politics. Environment Minister David Kemp said, “I totally reject the notion that Australia is not being entirely responsible in an environmental sense.”
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