Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Australia, world champion polluter

Within Australia's CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization], Mike Raupach is the chief of the Global Carbon Project, which measures the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions. He can therefore be considered as one of Australia's leading experts on the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases and the risks of global warming. An article in today's Herald Sun indicates some of the alarming findings of Raupach and his research team. In 2004, Australia's per capita emissions were 4.5 times the world average, and increasing twice as fast as those of the US. In China, explained Raupach, annual carbon emission amounts to one metric ton per person, whereas in Australia and the US the per capita output is over five times the Chinese figure. In the case of a significant yardstick known as carbon intensity, which is the quantity of fossil fuel consumed to produce a unit of energy or wealth, Australia has in fact become the world's most wasteful nation.

In the forthcoming elections, one of the main reasons why I'll be voting Labor is that it's shameful that the Howard administration has never signed the Kyoto agreement.

The Environment Society of Australia [click here to visit their website] informs us that Clive Hamilton, director of the Australia Institute, has just brought out a book, Scorcher: the Dirty Politics of Climate Change, which deals with "greedy corporations, craven politicians and public disengagement". Hamilton is particularly critical of Howard's claim that Australia, as an energy exporter, should be pardoned for its excessive emissions. "Our energy exports have no bearing on Australia's emission-reduction obligations at all. The emissions from our exports of coal, gas and oil are counted in the country where they burnt." Hamilton recalls the fact that Howard asked for advice on greenhouse pollution from the country's major polluters, without bothering to listen to environmental experts. Hamilton concludes: "In short, the Howard government has been able to hoodwink the community with impunity because many Australians have preferred to believe the lies."

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