Australia overtakes US as biggest polluter: report

Sep 11, 2009
An exhaust stack rises through the steam of the Loy Yang B power station in the Latrobe Valley, 150km east of Melbourne. Australians have overtaken Americans as the world's biggest individual producers of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for global warming, a risk consultancy says.

Australians have overtaken Americans as the world's biggest individual producers of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for global warming, a risk consultancy says.

British firm Maplecroft placed Australia's per capita output at 20.58 tons a year, some four percent higher than the United States and top of a list of 185 countries.

Canada, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia rounded out the top five. China remains the world's biggest overall greenhouse gas polluter, followed by the United States.

Maplecroft added that China and India's per person carbon production came in at just 4.5 and 1.16 tons respectively, in sharp contrast to their big overall figures.

" has about five times the per capita emissions of China for instance but China produces over 20 times the carbon emissions of Australia because China has such a huge population," University of Adelaide professor Barry Brook told public broadcaster ABC.

"So you can play around with these numbers all you want but ultimately what matters is the total global carbon budget," he said.

"And unless humanity as a whole can find solutions to that problem, then all of that petty bickering amongst nations about who's more or less responsible isn't really going to be very helpful."

The report was released ahead of a major UN summit in Copenhagen in December aiming to thrash out a new treaty.

Australia, whose vast size and isolation make for high transport costs for goods and people, has committed to cutting by up to 25 percent by 2020 compared to 2000 levels.

However, emissions trading legislation was defeated in the Senate last month, leaving the target in doubt.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 13

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Birthmark
3 / 5 (4) Sep 11, 2009
Now that's surprising!
defunctdiety
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 11, 2009
However, emissions trading legislation was defeated in the Senate last month, leaving the target in doubt.


Maybe it was defeated because emissions TRADING would not actually do anything to REDUCE greenhouse gas emissions.
3432682
3 / 5 (8) Sep 11, 2009
CO2 is just plant food, a little warming is good, and warming has stopped. Go Ozzie!
Bob_Kob
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 11, 2009
Oh yeah try pin the blame on us. As a total, considering our population into account we are one of the LEAST polluting countries in the world.
Nartoon
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 12, 2009
Canada is similar to Australia, small population spread out over a vast area, and damned cold in the winter.

What are we supposed to do? Ban furnaces or import 50,000,000 poor Indians & Chinese?
Ulg
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 12, 2009
"Maplecroft added that China and India's per person carbon production came in at just 4.5 and 1.16 tons respectively, in sharp contrast to their big overall figures."

Cause the per capita standard of living demands are grossly different. When you have no infrastructure you do not require alot of power, they are not living green- they are living in the dark ages.
Ninderthana
1 / 5 (2) Sep 12, 2009
If you include the oceans that controled by Asutralia, the CO2 absorption in the Australian region is far greater than the country's total CO2 emissions.

In other words, the rest of the world should actually be paying Australia for the fact that its land and oceans are actually soaking up excess man-made CO2 from other countries.
brianweymes
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 13, 2009
France emits about 6 tons per person. I wouldn't call them 'developing'. People don't have to live like Indians in order to reduce their footprint.
aussiedevo
not rated yet Sep 13, 2009
Disregarding our carbon intensive exports which I'm sure are the major contributor to our total, let's look at France for a moment. 0.6million km^2, the largest by area country in the EU I believe. Australia? 7.6million km^2. Yeah there's the fact that my "local" bananas come from 800km away, cheese from 2500km away, family and friends are scattered across vast distances, and our cities themselves are so spread out due to no shortage of area.

Now take my hobby, motorcycles. Spain, France, Italy; there'd be race tracks aplenty within 200km. The shortest distance between two of the tracks I raced at this year is 5200km!!

Kill our energy intensive exports though, mining/steel/coal/wheat/meat, and it'll be a different story.
Conah
not rated yet Sep 14, 2009
I Agree, aussiedevo..
looking at Australia's biggest exports, those being coal (and various other mined minerals) as well as the livestock industry. It is no wonder why the amount of CO2 released is large. I am hoping that people don't believe that the Austalian population are the cause of such emissions, but that they realise that the industries that have given us the best Western economy in this current time have been the main contributors. So for australians it is an ultimatum between advancement or reucing industry emissions... Tough World, eh??
Soylent
5 / 5 (2) Sep 14, 2009
France emits about 6 tons per person. I wouldn't call them 'developing'. People don't have to live like Indians in order to reduce their footprint.


Well that's because they fission uranium instead of burning dirt like Australia.
lengould100
not rated yet Sep 14, 2009
Agreed, Soylent. The French also prefer electric trains over diesels, efficient diesel autos, and not listening to stupid foreign politicians.
Velanarris
not rated yet Sep 18, 2009
France emits about 6 tons per person. I wouldn't call them 'developing'. People don't have to live like Indians in order to reduce their footprint.

France is also primarily nuclear. A technology you have denigrated in other posts.