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Factbox - Five Facts On Australia's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Published by MAC on 2007-08-14
Source: PlanetArk/Reuters

FACTBOX - Five Facts on Australia's Greenhouse Gas Emissions


14th August 2007

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, accused of being slow to tackle climate change, faced fresh criticism on Monday after four government lawmakers issued a report questioning the link between human activities and global warming.

Here are five facts about Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, likely to be key issues in national elections tipped for November.

* Australia's 2005 emissions totalled 559.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e), the government's Greenhouse Office estimates. This accounted for around 1.5 percent of total world emissions.

* Australia is the world's top greenhouse gas emitter per capita because of its reliance on burning coal to generate electricity.

Per-capita emissions fell 14.4 percent between 1990 and 2005, from 32.3 to 27.6 tonnes CO2-e, the Greenhouse Office says. But current per-capita totals are still double the industrialised average of just under 13 tonnes.

* Australia has not signed the Kyoto Protocol setting emission reduction targets for developed nations. Howard's conservative coalition, in power 11 years, believes Kyoto is ineffective without major emitters China and India. Australia is part of "AP6", a clean-tech Asia-Pacific climate group counting the United States, India, South Korea, Japan and China, dubbed the "pack of polluters" by critics.

* Electricity, gas and water suppliers are the country's top emitters by sector, responsible for 35.6 percent of Australia's greenhouse gas output. Primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining are the second largest source, accounting for 31.2 percent of 2005 emissions, including methane.

* Howard has described himself as a climate change sceptic. But with public concern growing about rising temperatures the government has allocated around A$3.4 billion to address climate change and is looking at a national carbon trading scheme.

Sources: Reuters, Australian Greenhouse Office, (, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (


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