The Australian government is taking steps to strip five shark species of 'protection status' in a move described by conservationists as an "unprecedented act of domestic and international environmental vandalism".
This isn't the first time Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government has been subject to international criticism for its controversial environmental policies.
In last months of last year Australia was singled out by politicians from around the world as disruptive and obstinate following its refusal to engage with global climate change talks, and for damage done to the Great Barrier Reef.
From energy to conservation and biodiversity, here are seven ways in which Tony Abbott and his government are damaging the environment.
1. Refuses to talk about climate change
Last year, as he hosted the G20 conference in Brisbane, Abbott came under fire for refusing to contribute to the UN's Green Climate Fund — in which developed countries provide clean energy and climate change aid to developing nations.
France, China and the US were among the countries to rebuke Australia for its abstention from global climate change policy.
And a recent study of climate change performance placed Australia among the worst, ranked below every wealthy country besides oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
2. Says coal is 'good for humanity'
The reason for Australia's place as a climate change outcast is Abbott's decision to double-down on carbon-heavy coal as the cornerstone of Australia's economy.
At the G20 he said he was "standing up for coal" and said it was "good for humanity" — to the horror of climate scientists.
Last year he fortified Australia's fossil-fuel economy by controversially scrapping the carbon tax.
Falling energy prices, however, may be taking their toll on Australia's chief export.
3. Scraps clean energy targets
The main victim of the Australia's recarbonisation policy is the country's nascent clean energy sector.
In October the government reduced its renewable energy targets, which the Clean Energy Council says will "equate to a 64% reduction in future investment and effectively devastate" the industry.
4. Worsening bushfires
But while Abbott dismisses the connection between the climate change and the fires as "hogwash", the Australian Academy of Sciences says there "a clear observed association between extreme heat and catastrophic bushfires".
5. Logging at Tasmanian Forest
Just last week, the state government made plans to begin tourist development in the 1.5m hectare Tasmanian forest, a World Heritage site previously off-limits.
Under the policy plan, the region would become wilderness in name only.
According to conservationists, there 37 undisclosed proposals the government is considering large roads and hotels.
6. Failing the Great Barrier Reef
Last year scientists claimed Australia's plan to preserve the Great Barriet Reef doesn't do nearly enough.
The underwater ecosystem is home to 1,500 species - including many endangered - and is already feeling the affects of the warming climate.
US President Obama last year made pointed comments about the Great Barrier Reef's vulnerability, to which Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop said he "overlooked" all that the country is doing.
It is thought that Australia's development of ports nearby has done a lot of damage, and major US banks have vowed to not fund Abbott Point's proposed coal port.
Environmental group WWF has also hit out against the country for dumping sediment and water in the delicate wetlands nearby, claiming that it's contaminating the coral reef.
Marine scientist Dr Charlie Veron said the Great Barriet Reef Authority's decision to permit said sediment dumping is akin to "committing suicide".
7. Won't protect sharks
7. Won't protect sharks
This brings us back to the recent shark protection plan.
Abbott and his government, having agreed in November to granting conservation status to three thresher shark species and two hammerhead sharks, is trying to back out.
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
In pictures: Changing climate around the world
Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water in Qaqortoq, Greenland
Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to 1,000 square kilometers in the past decade. It shrinks mainly because of climate change, expanded irrigation for surrounding farms and the damming of rivers that feed the body of water
A boat navigates among calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Boats are a crucial mode of transportation in the country that has few roads. As cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots around the world strategize about how to respond to climate change, many Greenlanders simply do what theyve always done: adapt. 'Were used to change, said Greenlander Pilu Neilsen. 'We learn to adapt to whatever comes. If all the glaciers melt, well just get more land
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is seen after being inaugurated in Longyearbyen, Norway. The 'doomsday' seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opened deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
A technician preparing to drain a vast underground lake at the Tete Rousse glacier on the Mont Blanc Alpine mountain, to avert a potentially disatrous flood. Some 65,000 cubic metres (2.3 million cubic feet) of water have gathered in a cavity, dangerously raising the pressure beneath the mountain, a favourite spot for holiday makers in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Cracked mud is picture at sunrise in the dried shores of Lake Gruyere affected by continuous drought near the western Switzerland village of Avry-devant-Pont. A leading climate scientist warned that Europe should take action over increasing drought and floods, stressing that some climate change trends were clear despite variations in predictions
Cattle graze on grassland that remains dry and brown at the height of the rainy season in south of Bakersfield, California. Its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and dating back as far as 500 years, according to some scientists who study tree rings
An aerial view shows tents of flood-displaced people surrounded by water in southern Sehwan town. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres met with people displaced by last year's devastating floods. Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept through the country in 2010 and affected some 20 million people, destroyed 1.7 million homes and damaged 5.4 million acres of arable land
An aerial view of flooding in North Wagga Wagga. Climate change is amplifying risks from drought, floods, storm and rising seas, threatening all countries but small island states, poor nations and arid regions in particular, UN experts warned
Damages caused by a landslide on the Pan-American highway near La Moramulca, 55 Km south of Tegucigalpa. International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops in a region that the United Nations has classified as one of the most affected by climate change
A resident sprays water on a peatland fire in Pekanbaru district in Riau province on Indonesia's Sumatra island. Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, is one of the world's biggest carbon emitters because of rampant deforestation. US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday issued a clarion call for nations to do to more to combat climate change, calling it 'the world's largest weapon of mass destruction'
An excavator clearing a peatland forest area for a palm oil plantations in Trumon subdistrict, Aceh province, on Indonesia's Sumatra island. As Southeast Asia's largest economy grows rapidly, swathes of biodiverse forests across the archipelago of 17,000 islands have been cleared to make way for paper and palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and agriculture. The destruction has ravaged biodiversity, placing animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers in danger of extinction, while also leading to the release of vast amounts of climate change-causing carbon dioxide
Stagnant rain water with tannery waste make the Hazaribagh area in Old Dhaka as well as Buriganga River the most polluted. Each year during the seven-month long dry season between October and April the Buriganga River becomes totally stagnant with its upstream region drying up and becoming polluted from toxic waste from city industries
Waste water from Dhaka city drained to the River Buriganga contributes to its pollutions. On the World Water Day observed in 2007 under the theme Coping with Water Scarcity, under the leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, DrikNEWS explores some of the images of the river. UN-Water has identified coping with water scarcity as part of the strategic issues and priorities requiring joint UN action. The theme highlights the significance of cooperation and importance of an integrated approach to water resource management of water at international, national and local levels
Heavy smog has been lingering in northern and eastern parts of China, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools. China's Environment Ministry said it will send inspection teams to provinces and cities most seriously affected by smog to ensure rules on fighting air pollution are being enforced
Under the protection agreement, due to come into effect on February 8, killing one of these sharks would be a criminal offence.
Though Australia says it already has protections in place, the Humane Society International called the move an “unprecedented act of domestic and international environmental vandalism”.Reuse content