The quality of the natural environment in which we live is a determinant of a person’s wellbeing.
Context statement: Indicator of environmental quality. Poor air quality can have a major impact on health, the environment and the economy – and can exacerbate conditions such as asthma and other respiratory disorders.
In Australia, emissions of fine particulates (PM2.5) have been decreasing over time and human exposure to PM2.5 has consequently decreased. While there have been some fluctuations, the concentration of PM2.5 has fallen in Australia since 1990 from 7.6 to 6.8 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre in 2019 (OECD 2021).
For more information see Natural environment and health and Australian bushfires 2019–20: exploring the short-term health impacts.
For international comparisons, see International comparisons of welfare data.
Reference: OECD 2021. Air pollution exposure (indicator). doi: 10.1787/8d9dcc33-en
Context statement: Indicator of environmental sustainability. Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations have an impact on global temperatures and the Earth’s climate, with consequences for ecosystems and human settlements.
Australia’s annual emissions for the year to December 2020 are estimated to be 499.0 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e). This is the lowest emission level recorded in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. It is 10.2% below emissions in the year to June 2000 (555.5 Mt CO2-e) and 20.1% below emissions in the year to June 2005 (624.2 Mt CO2-e) (Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, 2020).
In the year to December 2020, greenhouse gas emissions per person were at their lowest levels in 31 years (19.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person). This represents a 46.7 per cent decline in greenhouse gas emissions per capita from 36.4 t CO2-e per person in the year to December 1990 (Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, 2020).
For more information see Natural environment and health.
Reference: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources 2020. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Quarterly Update: December 2020. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
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