Australia is the world’s third biggest exporter and fifth biggest miner of fossil fuels by CO2 potential. Its exports are behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, and far larger than Iraq, Venezuela and any country in the EU. Yet Australia’s economy is more diverse and less fossil fuel intensive than many other exporters. Australia has an opportunity and obligation to decarbonise its exports in line with the Paris Agreement.
Climate & Energy Program
The climate impact of Australia’s fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas) exports ranks behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia exports in terms of global emissions, according to a major new report from the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.
The new research also finds that in absolute terms Australia is the world’s fifth largest miner of fossil fuels, ranking behind only China, USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia. On a per capita basis, Australia is on par with Saudi Arabia.
The analysis, which compares emissions from burning fossil fuels mined and exported, also finds:
Australia’s use of controversial Kyoto carbon credits to cut its Paris Agreement target in half completely undermines Pacific climate action.
If a ban or limitation of coal is not in today’s 50th Pacific Islands Forum communique, it will be because Australia has bullied its Pacific Island neighbours into taking it out.
“This Government’s fixation on coal puts Australia in direct conflict with Pacific leaders fighting for the future of their nations,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.
“Being a partner with our Pacific neighbours means listening to them and working with them – not bullying them.
The Australia Institute made a submission to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee's inquiry into the Coal-Fired Power Funding Prohibition Bill 2017. The submission highlights our existing research on Australia’s energy market and coal-fired power generation.
by Richie Merzian
[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 10 August 2019]
Late last Friday - a timeslot where ministers are known to announce policies they are most proud of - the Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, ordered a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear energy.
Prime Minister Morrison is undermining Pacific action on climate change, with new analysis from the Australia Institute revealing that his pollution loophole is equivalent to around 8 years fossil fuel emissions for the rest of the Pacific and New Zealand.
The Government plans to use Kyoto credits to meet emissions targets – a loophole that means Australia will count controversial past reductions to meet current targets – and essentially be able to keep pollution at the same level.
New research from The Australia Institute has shown how the world’s major electricity markets are opening up to demand response competition, which will benefit consumers with lower prices and help maintain reliability.
“The rest of the world is charging ahead with energy market modernisation and Australia is now poised to make a major reform that will put us at the leading edge,” said Dan Cass, Energy Policy & Regulatory Lead at The Australia Institute.
Wholesale demand response brings benefits to consumers and reduces energy prices. A rule change currently being considered by the Australian Energy Market Commission is supported by a wide range of consumer groups, but opposed by incumbent energy companies. Demand response is being introduced in major markets such as the USA, EU and China, where similar patterns of support and opposition have been observed.
The Australia Institute made a submission on the Galilee Gas Pipeline proposed by Jemena. The Pipeline Project should be considered a controlled action under the EPBC Act as it would impact on matters of national environmental significance.