Passing the pollution: Australia becomes world’s biggest exporter of coal and gas
Australia is now the biggest exporter of climate change, leading the world in selling coal and gas, a new report reveals.
Emissions from nations which bought our gas, coal and oil increased by 4.4 per cent between 2018 and 2019, with Australia now the world’s biggest coal and gas producing country, the report from UNSW says.
Our exported emissions are now greater than the domestic pollution of Germany, Canada, Turkey and the UK.
“Not only is Australia a laggard in meeting its UN Paris emission reduction targets, but it is also now the world’s largest exporter of coal and gas,” the authors wrote.
“In fact, the emissions from Australia’s exported fossil fuels are now greater than Germany’s domestic emissions.”
Australia has been on track to become the world’s bigger carbon dioxide polluter for a while, with a report from The Australian Conservation Foundation last year warning we would hit the milestone soon.
Russia and Saudi Arabia were both above Australia as recently as August last year.
Using new data from the Office of the Chief Economist, emissions from exported fossil fuels were 1.2 times greater than global aviation emissions in 2018 and 1.4 times greater than all the CO2 emissions produced by the summer bushfires in 2019.
Australia now exports more fossil fuels that Germany’s entire domestic output.
When Australian fossil fuels are burned overseas, the amount of carbon dioxide they produce is higher than the exported emissions of the world’s biggest oil and gas-producing nations, like Iraq and Kuwait.
“Despite Federal Government claims that our national emissions have only a minimal impact on the global climate, Australia is, in fact, a major contributor to global climate change.”
“The massive emissions that result from our fossil fuel exports are not counted in Australia’s national carbon budget under our UN climate obligations, nor do we take responsibility for the impact these emissions are having globally.”
Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal and our exported emissions should be counted towards our overall emissions footprint, said lead researcher and professor of political philosophy Jeremy Moss.
Australia likes to think of itself as a good global citizen. We’re not.”
“We’re the Saudi Arabia of coal and gas. That’s not a good situation to be in,” he told The New Daily.
“People say we’re not responsible for exports, the government spends a billion dollar to recycle our waste which otherwise would have gone to other countries. These emissions are also our problem.
“Responsibility doesn’t stop at the border. We have the same view about plastic waste, uranium and live sheep exports.”
Australia is now the world’s leading exporter of climate change. Photo: Getty
The report calls for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, removal of the $47 billion worth of subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and phasing out production constant with climate goals,” Professor Moss said.
“At least two-thirds of the known reserves of fossil fuels must be left in the ground if climate targets are to be met (IEA, 2012).
“Production of fossil fuels must, therefore, be phased out rapidly. Countries such as Australia should not get a free pass to produce and export as much fossil fuels as they are able to.”
The report follows the announcement that the COVID-19 economic recovery committee has made recommendations that the government underwrite a massive gas industry expansion.
Australia’s Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, is proposing a gas led recovery out of the pandemic-induced recession.
But a report from the Australia Institute revealed last week that fossil fuel was the worst-performing sector in the ASX 300 over the last decade.
“The poor performance of fossil fuel companies is probably surprising to most Australians, who are routinely told by industry and political leaders that coal is the “bedrock” of Australia’s prosperity, or that gas will “fire” the recovery from COVID19,” it read.