Australia’s Carbon Dilemna

The recent bush fires on Australia and the protests against climate change show a changing mood in the country. But Australia has a real dilemma with climate change and reducing carbon emissions.

That problem is that Australia is largely a carbon economy. If Australia is to reduce its emissions, then it will have to reinvent its economic model and that is the dilemma which I’m sure the Australian government is aware of.

In Zero Carbon Our Choice, I write about the issues of carbon economies at risk. Australia is one of them. In terms of Australian exports, the largest sector in 2018 was Mineral fuels including oil: US$87.7 billion, 34.6% of total exports (www. Without these exports, Australia’s trade surplus would turn into a deficit.

In terms of domestic emissions, the 2017 numbers are Electricity 35%, Gas etc 18%, Transport 19%, Gas Flaring 10%, Industry 7%, Agriculture 17%, Waste 2% and land use -4% (Climate Council). Over a quarter of these are associated with carbon exports.

Australia also has significant emissions from aviation. Without these emissions, its tourism sector would be much smaller.

Given this analysis, Australia’s economy would look dramatically different in a zero carbon world. It is not clear whether Australians are aware of what both their country and they personally would have to change to remove carbon emissions.

Achieving zero carbon will require some difficult decisions.  

© Chris Lenon and  2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chris Lenon and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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