Changing character: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and climate change in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

Jamie Pittock, Colin Finlayson, Alex Gardner, Clare MacKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was established to conserve the world's diminishing wetlands on the assumption of a stationary hydrology, which is now threatened by climate change. This article examines how the Australian Commonwealth government is using the provisions within the Convention to deal with the degradation of six Ramsar-listed wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. The ecological character of the wetlands is changing, primarily due to the manner in which the rivers have been managed and excessive extraction of water for human consumption. Climate change is expected to exacerbate this situation. The authors outline breaches in the government's obligations under the Convention. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and the Water Act 2007 (Cth), which are based in part on supporting the implementation of the Convention, are undermined by a lack of adherence to the Convention. Gaps and inconsistencies are also identified in the Convention for managing the impacts of climate change on wetlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-425
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Volume27
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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